Panel Recommends Shorter Radiotherapy Treatment for Bowel Cancer Patients During COVID-19 Pandemic

An international panel of cancer experts is recommended a one-week course of radiotherapy and delaying surgery as the best way to treat patients with bowel cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic. The recommendations can be found here:

The panel comprised 15 researchers who led the defining studies. The truncated course of treatment consists of higher-density radiation rather than five weeks of radiotherapy coupled with chemotherapy. Surgery, per the recommendations, which normal occurs one to two weeks following radiotherapy, can be safely delayed up to 12 weeks, according to the panel.

David Sebag-Montefiore, Professor of Clinical Oncology at the University of Leeds and Honorary Clinical Oncologist with the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, who led the expert panel, said in a press release: “The COVID-19 pandemic is a global emergency and we needed to work very quickly to identify changes that would benefit patients. Our recommendations were published 20 days after our first meeting.

“This process normally takes many months, if not years.”

Professor Sebag-Montefiore added: “Our guidelines will result in a very substantial change in treatment across the globe. During the COVID-19 pandemic, our patients will benefit from the use of an effective, shorter and safer radiotherapy treatment.”