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COVID-19 Pandemic Affects Cancer Patients the Most Study Suggests

According to a recent study, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the care and well-being of cancer patients, particularly those in advanced stages.

COVID-19 Pandemic Affects Cancer Patients the Most Study Suggests
Photo: Cancer Patient | InStyleHealth

"The COVID-19 pandemic threw cancer care into disarray. According to the authors, “the impact of these disturbances on patient experiences remains relatively understudied.”

To fill this knowledge vacuum, a virtual snowball sampling approach was used to conduct a survey among adults with cancer across the United States from April 1 to August 26, 2020, in partnership with professional organizations, cancer care providers, and patient advocacy groups. The authors then used descriptive statistics, χ2 and t tests to analyze the data.

The study enlisted the participation of 328 cancer patients from 38 different states. The majority of them were non-Hispanic White (n=183; 58.7%) and female (n=177; 56.7%), with a median age of 57. Furthermore, 91 percent of respondents spoke English at home, 70.1 percent had health insurance, and 67 percent had home internet connection.

Breast cancer (n=67; 21.5 percent) was the most prevalent diagnosis. Almost one-quarter of the patients (n=80; 25.6%) had stage 4 disease, and nearly half of the respondents (n=145; 46%) had their care changed as a result of COVID-19.

187 (60%) of cancer patients expressed fear that the pandemic would have an impact on their care and well-being (p0.001). Furthermore, more than half of the respondents (n=162; 52%) said COVID-19 had an impact on one or more areas of social determinants of health, with a disproportionate impact on those with advanced illness stages.

"Future research should examine customized strategies to reduce COVID-19's impact on cancer patients," the scientists wrote.


Source: Am J Clin Oncol 2021;44:580-587

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