The use of telemedicine to maintain breast cancer follow-up and surveillance during the COVID-19 pandemic

J Surg Oncol. 2020 Dec 17. doi: 10.1002/jso.26327. Online ahead of print.


As a result from restricted economic activities and social distancing due to the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, we observed a 49.4% decrease in outpatient appointments at our Institution. to minimize this impact on screening and oncological follow-up of breast cancer patients, telemedicine appointments were established. The authors demonstrate how a cancer center in the largest city in Brazil has managed outpatient appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a retrospective study of patients who had their appointments through telemedicine at the AC Camargo Cancer Center between June 2020 and October 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the 77 patients who had telemedicine appointments, 36 (46.8%) accounted for breast cancer follow-up, 20 (26%) for breast cancer screening, 10 (13%) for benign breast disease evaluation, 7 (9%) for a second opinion, and 4 (5.2%) for general orientations. Routine surveillance/follow-up exams were requested for 45 (58.4%) patients and breast image exams and a request to return for a personal appointment for 30 (39%) patients. Two (2.6%) patients were requested to schedule a personal appointment immediately for a physical exam. In conclusion, telemedicine may be a feasible alternative to reduce personal outpatient appointments for cancer follow-up and breast cancer screening during the COVID-19 pandemic.

PMID:33333581 | DOI:10.1002/jso.26327