The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, the World Health Organization said. At a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, Director General, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, said this.
“We continue to urge countries to find, isolate, test and handle all cases and track every contact to ensure this downward trend continues. But the pandemic is far from over. The DKR continues to worry about the rising trend in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and some Asian countries “, he said.
With more than 3.25 million people infected, the health care system of even the most developed countries is overwhelmed. Cancer patients and survivors, for example, are very vulnerable during this epidemic and not only because of the increasing state of their susceptibility to the immune system, which makes them vulnerable to infection. They also risk losing essential cancer care because of the unavailability of resources.
Coronavirus (blue) is biologically simple, but complicated in how it infects hosts. CDC / Hannah A Bullock; Azaibi Tamin
18,000 cancer patients
A new study It has been shown that 18,000 additional cancer patients in the UK will lose their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic mainly because hospitals that treat these patients have to delay and postpone treatment because they are from NHS care. According to chief UK medical advisor Prof. Chris Witty, this is one of the “indirect” costs of a coronavirus pandemic.
This new study from University College London (UCL), in collaboration with Data-Can, was one of the first to look at the impact of delays in cancer care provided by the NHS during this pandemic situation. Data-Can is a health data research laboratory that records cancer diagnoses and treatment data from patients throughout the UK.
This study looks at the potential impact of delaying diagnostic tests, screening tests, surgery, and chemo and radiation therapy by the NHS. Also taken into account is the patient’s fear of infection from visiting health facilities. This database includes more than 3.5 million patients in the UK, and from there, results have been obtained.
What was found?
The researchers note that there will be 17,915 additional deaths from cancer and indirectly due to pandemics during this time. Some deaths can be caused by late diagnosis or delayed treatment for cancer.
They note that 6,270 people in the UK, newly diagnosed with cancer, are expected to lose their lives over the next 12 months due to suspension, delays and disruption of their treatment schedule. An additional 17,915 deaths are a 20 percent increase from 89,576 deaths seen each year from cancer in the UK, the report said.
The study also showed that there were 21,678 deaths due to coronavirus infection, and more than 4,300 people had died in care homes over the past two weeks. The NHS has called for continuing care given to seriously ill patients and cancer patients. However, over the past few months since February, cancer referral tests from general practitioners have fallen 76 percent, and there has been a 60 percent decrease in appointments for chemotherapy sessions. However, the NHS has repeatedly urged cancer treatments to “remain unaffected.”
Conclusions and impact
The researchers concluded, “Our data have highlighted how cancer patients with multimorbidity are a very risky group during the current pandemic. To ensure an effective cancer policy and avoid excessive death, both during and after an emergency COVID-19, it is very important to ensure the reporting of specific excess mortality that almost happens in real time, urgent cancer referrals, and treatment statistics, so as to inform the delivery of the most optimal care in this very vulnerable group of patients. “
This study shows that there is a widespread impact of this pandemic that is not only related to coronavirus infection. Cancer Support Macmillan calls this the “forgotten C” of the corona pandemic crisis and has expressed concern over the findings of this study. The study concludes that 80 percent of additional deaths at this time will be caused by newly detected cancers among those who already have other diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or obesity.
Dr. Alvina Lal, lead author of the study, a lecturer in health data analysis at the UCL health information institute, said in a statement, “Our findings indicate serious potential for unintended consequences of responses to the Covid-19 pandemic, which could have a negative impact on patients with cancer and other underlying health conditions. “He added that the NHS needs to identify patients who have cancer and are vulnerable at this critical time. Their care must be prioritized so that risks to their health are reduced, he said.
Mark Lawler, lead author of Queen’s University Belfast and Data-Can, said, “The results are alarming. We believe countries need to understand how emergencies affect cancer outcomes quickly, otherwise we risk adding to cancer and other basic health.” conditions with increasing numbers of Covid-19 pandemic deaths. “
NHS England is spreading awareness among the general public to report and ask for help if there are alarming symptoms or serious health problems. They have asked people to call 999 or visit A&E or GP without delay. The NHS hopes that cancer-related operations will resume soon and hopes to cover the savings suffered during the past few months because patients delay hospital visits and operations.
Peter Johnson, an oncologist from NHS England, also said there were serious implications of late diagnosis and treatment of cancer. He urged people to get a suspicious lump or mole as soon as possible. He said there were “COVID-free cancer centers” in 19 regions in the UK, and this service could be used for cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Harry Hemingway, senior author of the paper and director of the UCL health information institute, said in a statement, “The overall impact of the Covid-19 emergency on death in cancer patients can be enormous. There are many factors operating here, including rapid changes in diagnosis and protocols. care, social distance measures, changes in people’s behavior in seeking medical attention, and [the] the economic impact of Covid-19, and death due to Covid-19 infection. “
Lynda Thomas, Macmillan’s chief executive, added, “This study shows the possibility of direct damage and guarantees caused by coronaviruses on the health of our nation and the lives of people living with conditions such as cancer. newly diagnosed with cancer, we call on all governments to stop cancer from being forgotten C and immediately ensure that cancer services get everything they need to recover and pursue as quickly as possible from a pandemic disorder, which means having the right staff, protective equipment, and testing to provide safe care. “
NHS UK chief executive Simon Stevens has called on the general public to seek health care when needed, and Health Secretary Matt Hancock also announced this week that health services will be normalized and restored as soon as possible.
- Lai, Alvina & Pasea, Laura & Denaxas, Spiros & Chang, Wai Hoong & Pillay, Deenan & Noursadeghi, Mahdad & Linch, David & Hughes, Derralynn & Forster, Martin & Turnbull, Clare & Boyd, Kathryn & Foster, Graham & Cooper , Matt & Pritchard-Jones, Kathy & Sullivan, Richard & Davie, Charles & Hall, Geoff. (2020). Estimates excessive death in people with cancer and multimorbidity in COVID-19 emergencies. 10,13140 / RG.2.2.34254.82242. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/340984562_Estimating_excess_mortality_in_people_with_cancer_and_multimorbidity_in_the_COVID-19_emergency