You can save yourself from COVID-19 by taking appropriate precautions; but if cancer treatment is not taken at the appropriate time, you might lose that chance. DON’T MISS THE BUS!!
Cancer diagnosis and treatment are time-sensitive and any delays might have a negative impact on the cure rates, survival, and quality of life in oncology patients. In the present pandemic situation, the factors responsible for such delays are:
- Fear of Coronavirus
- Travel inconvenience due to lockdown
- Financial issues
- Patients coming from distant places for treatment
- Accommodation and food-related issues
- Changes in hospital functionality during the pandemic.
These factors are affecting the timely diagnosis of cancer and also cancer recurrence in follow-up patients. It is a well-known fact that early detection or catching cancer in the early stages has significant benefits in achieving better cure rates. In the current scenario, delays in diagnosis are causing upstaging of the disease, which means patients are not seeking medical help until the disease is in advanced stages causing trouble in day-to-day life. The impact of delay in the treatment is adversely affecting the survival, quality of life can lead to resistance to treatment and a substantial increase in the number of avoidable cancer deaths. This is exactly the crisis situation ‘ The Red Zone’ any oncologist wants to avoid.
Most cancer centers are following optimal patient care, which is targeted by identifying tumor type and appropriate risk stratification approach. Furthermore, all possible measures to prevent these immuno-compromised oncology patients from Covid infection are being sought. For example, triaging and amendments in the treatment protocols and telemedicine facilities are being used widely. It is strongly advised to seek medical consultation at the earliest like before, despite the COVID situation, and proceed with the treatment as per your Oncologist based on your risk-benefit ratio.