Cancer surgery sustainability in light of COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 Pandemic has caused unprecedented pressure on healthcare systems creating a need to conserve critical resources and to provide Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) that is essential for protecting patients/staff from intra-hospital transmission. As new evidence emerges guidelines should be updated.
Cancer patients are at increased risk of contracting the viral infection due to their underlying disease and immunosuppression associated with the treatment. We need to minimise risk of cancer patients contracting the coronavirus and avoiding surgical complications whilst making best use of resources.
There should be plans for cancer services to continue to investigate, treat and deliver care to patients within the SAFE practice framework1, whilst balancing the resources for the coronavirus response2. Plans should include eventualities where cancer services are compromised (e.g. staff/supply shortages) and clinicians need to prioritise treatment using best evidence. Maintenance of weekly tumour board meetings (ideally remotely) is imperative, as decisions should be taken with their involvement and communicated with patients
We acknowledge the trauma the workforce is experiencing and importance of “self-care” and “mental wellbeing”.