It was expected! Patients appointments are cancelled and postponed because the clinics are closed. A lot of clinicians were made to work from home. This resulted in patients’ lack of medical access, delay of the early diagnosis, delay of treatments like chemo or radiation of known diagnoses and delay of decision making on behalf of patients and clinicians.
Here are the most important stories that Medscape Oncology’s editors picked for you to read today:
Excess Cancer Deaths Predicted After COVID-19
One year from now, there will be 33,890 excess deaths among patients with cancer in the United States, and 6270 excess deaths in England, predicts a first of its kind report.
The prediction is based on data showing that the majority of patients who have cancer and individuals suspected of having cancer are not accessing healthcare services because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report found a 60% decrease in chemotherapy attendance and a 76% decrease in urgent cancer referrals for early diagnosis compared with prepandemic levels.
“It is universally accepted that early diagnosis and treatment and adherence to treatment regimens saves lives,” pointed out a commentator. “Therefore, these COVID-19–related impacts will cost lives.”
Heading towards new normals
I hope that going forward, these patients don’t die because of lack of access of medical care. When humans have been struck with such a pandemic, we have blessed with growth in technology. Why can’t tele-health become the future of healthcare? This is already been in practice these days. So why can’t our cancer patients reach out their physicians online and get their check ups online? This will be the new normal and should be the new normal!
Tele-health is not a new concept. Companies like Genoa Health care have been thriving on this concept for their tele-psychiatry program. They have millions of patients seeking treatment and consultations via tele health. It’s amazing to see how COVID-19 pandemic taught us to accept tele-health as our future of clinical consultations! Imagine the benefits of this! No cancer patient will stay deprived of medical care and get their early diagnosis and treatments. No patient will have to wait for months to get appointments. Outpatient centers won’t get overcrowded for unnecessary patient visits. Less traffic in roads, less consumption of gas, more productive use of time for both patients and doctors, cost effective- some of the other fringe benefits of tele-health.