How has COVID-19 impacted cancer patients?

The coronavirus has caused an unprecedented health crisis in the UK. In addition to the need to treat and prevent the disease itself, the demand for NHS, and the anxiety generated by the public, also has an impact on the treatment of other diseases (such as cancer).

 In March, cancer patients experienced the 19th, when many diagnosis and treatment services were closed, and the staff was transferred to deal with the coronavirus crisis.

Karol Sikora, CMO oncologist at Rutherford Health. “The NHS started to disconnect other services and reassign staff. For example, chemotherapy nurses were reassigned to the intensive care unit.

 For some, this means that treatment is canceled, delayed, or stopped completely for a period of time. These delays have brought a lot of stress and anxiety to patients and may have an impact on the results of some people.

With the end of the crisis, people are now receiving treatment. But the closure of cancer services at that time caused huge emotional problems for many cancer patients,”

A drop in diagnosis

In addition to the delay in treatment of many patients for a period of time, the number of diagnosed cancer cases has fallen sharply due to the closure of departments, the cancellation of biopsies, and the inability or unwillingness of people to access cancer services.

 There are 360,000 new cancer cases in the UK each year, or 30,000 cases per month,. “But in April, there were only 5,000 new Cases. There were 8,000 in May and 10,000 in June.

So the numbers have dropped significantly over the past three months.” “The reason is twofold,” Dr. Sicora explained. “When someone is more ill than they are, people are too worried to see a doctor or are unwilling to spend resources.

 In addition, the system was basically shut down: no more urgent symptoms were observed before the two-week wait.

Although the NHS has opened up and treatment and diagnostic services have resumed operation, the restrictions required by the coronavirus mean that many. Part of the problem is that many programs are AGP programs that generate aerosols.

 “The necessary hygiene measures between procedures are more complicated, that is, for example, in an endoscopy clinic, he can see 3-4 patients in a morning instead of the usual 10-12 people.”

The role of screening

In addition to about 2,300 patients who are not diagnosed through referral every week, Cancer Research UK reports that about 400 patients are not diagnosed every week due to delays in screening services.

A few months later, cancer screening services in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland officially ceased. In England, the screening center did not issue an invitation, so the end result was the same.

As a result, 2.1 million people are now behind in detecting bowel cancer, breast cancer, or cervical cancer. The screening service has been up and running, but the NHS reported that delays and delays occurred because all patients were eligible for screening at the peak of the pandemic.

It should note that this type of examination (such as a regular mammogram) provides for healthy people who have no symptoms.

 If you are waiting for an exam appointment but have any symptoms or concerns, be sure to talk to your doctor instead of waiting for your regular appointment to arrive.

The danger of delay

The decline in the number of cancer diagnoses since March indicates that many people have symptoms but do not have access to medical services. However, as far as cancer is concerned, early diagnosis is essential.

If cancer is not treate, it usually grows. The disease spreads from the main organs and moves upward in stages. Stage 1 is limited to organs: for example, breasts, lungs, or colon. Stage 2 infections carry it.

Surround. Stage 3 affects other organs. Stage 4 is widespread cancer,” Dr. Sikora explained. “The survival rate for stage 1 cancer is very good. For example, for stage 1 breast cancer, the survival rate is 95%. In phase 2, it is 80%. But in stage 3, only 20%.

 Then there was a big drop. Inevitably, untreated or diagnosed cancer will go through these stages. “All cancers are treatable, but the chance of success for local cancers is much greater than for cancers that have spread.

 Therefore, anyone with these symptoms must ensure that they contact their GP: delayed diagnosis may result in Worse results.

Getting into the system

Since delayed diagnosis is potentially dangerous, it is important to check as soon as possible if you experience any worrying symptoms. “The message is that if you have symptoms that worry you, you need to take action.” Dr. Sicora said.

 “The NHS needs time to recover; the waiting list is increasing, but the important thing is to enter the system. If they only provide you with a phone consultation at first, don’t worry.

 Answer the phone-everything can arrange. There are usually one or two key tests, which may be ultrasound or chest X-rays. Which can schedule over the phone and perform on most people in the same week.

The most important thing is to enter the system. If you are not satisfie with the response you receive, please stick to it! “

A brighter future?

There is no doubt that the coronavirus has affected the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. But, in the long run, it may bring some benefits in cancer care.

Due to the pressure of the coronavirus on services. Certain procedures have been simplified or optimized to make treatment faster and more accessible. These changes may continue in the future.

Most departments have simplified the way they operate. So that we can perform treatment faster-for example, converting intravenous medications to oral medications. So that people can reduce the number of visits to the hospital,” he said.

The hotline has been set up. The medical profession has been saying that we need to make an appointment by phone. Now we have to do this. “It’s much more convenient and we will do it in the future.

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