Leading cancer care provider reports on potential collateral damage for cancer patients due to Covid-19
Fort Myers, Fla., U.S. – People delaying their annual cancer screenings and ignoring signs and symptoms of cancer may end up being diagnosed with later-stage metastatic disease reports leading oncology provider, GenesisCare.
The latest reporting from GenesisCare centers saw an increase in patients presenting with advanced (metastatic) disease, increasing the risk of mortality, and a noticeable decline in reported new patient cases since the COVID-19 pandemic started.
Throughout the 290 GenesisCare cancer treatment locations across the U.S., physicians have recorded a double-digit percentage of declines in new patient cases for curative breast, lung, and prostate cancers.
This decline followed the restrictions on elective medical procedures beginning in March of 2020 as well as reduced visits to primary care and outpatient services.
Key findings include:
- Breast cancer: the percentage of women presenting with stage three or four cancer increased to 18.1% from 12.1% the previous year.
- Lung cancer: the percentage of patients presenting with stage three or four lung cancer also increased to 38% from 32.6% the previous year.
“Across the United States and internationally, we have documented a significant reduction in new cancer diagnoses and an increase in metastatic patients within our large network of cancer treatment centers,” Dr. Constantine Mantz, Chief Policy Officer and Radiation Oncologist at GenesisCare’s US offices, said.
“We believe this is due to factors including the closure of cancer screening programs, and the general public delaying annual cancer screening appointments.”
A recent research letter published in JAMA Oncology, researchers found little risk of a COVID-19 infection for cancer patients visiting healthcare facilities, as long as the facility followed all the necessary safety protocols.
“The new national figures around cancer patients presenting at later stage metastatic disease is unprecedented, and the concern is that this may be occurring because people are not participating in screening and following up on symptoms,” Dr.Mantz said.
“Early diagnosis and treatment of cancer are critical to improving patients’ outcomes and reducing the risk of mortality.
“We want to remind people of the importance of continuing their annual health screenings and not ignoring early signs and symptoms of cancer,” he said.
Founder and Global Chief Executive Officer of GenesisCare, Dan Collins said that as one of the largest providers of integrated oncology care in the United States and the world, the GenesisCare team has seen the direct impact of lockdowns and restrictions on cancer treatments during the pandemic.
“Cancer doesn’t stop, and our teams and centers can’t either,” Mr Collins said.
“Patients across the country are looking for reassurance that hospitals and healthcare providers are taking the necessary precautions to protect them from COVID-19.”
Mr Collins said learning from the early days of the pandemic in Europe the company had increased telehealth options and enhanced safety precautions at its healthcare facilities to ensure patients can be treated safely.
“Since the start of the pandemic, we have implemented stringent safety and quality measures in Australia, the UK, Spain – and now the US – to keep our patients and staff safe.”
“Our committed clinical teams understand how vital it is for patients to receive access to their escalated care at the right time.”
For more information on GenesisCare, visit genesiscare.com (formally 21st Century Oncology). To view the full list of precautions GenesisCare US centers are taking to ensure patient and staff safety, visit https://www.21co.com/patient-information/