Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Oncology Practices During Nationwide Lockdown Period: A Single Centre Experience and the Way Forward

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a grave challenge to mankind as it doesn’t appear to get controlled in the near future. Worldwide, health care centers are working more than their capacity with the scarcity of medical resources. Cancer patients are considered to be at higher risk of developing life-threatening complications from COVID-19 and at the same time treatment delays can lead to poorer oncological outcomes. Appropriate planning is therefore important to continue with cancer treatment services and simultaneously avoiding the risk of infection to the patients and healthcare staff and not allowing community transmission of viral infection.

Methods and results: We modified our practice measures in cancer patients receiving systemic therapy. Tele-consultations and use of electronic means, providing the best supportive care at or near home, and involvement of local/ family physicians were widely practiced. We minimised in-patient admissions, however, day-care chemotherapies were continued to provide optimum oncology services.

Conclusions: Modified oncological practice measures need to be implemented as the pandemic seems to stay for a longer time.