In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, governments and hospitals systems are struggling to determine how to continue to provide care when resources are seriously compromised.
KCCure ran a patient survey from March 22 to March 25, asking patients to share their experiences, anxieties and concerns about managing their cancer diagnosis during the pandemic.COVID19-slides-2
Over 500 patients responded to the survey. We heard from more women than men, with a breakdown of 60 percent to 40 percent. Ages ranged from 24 to 87, with a median age of 55. People from 48 states participated, the only states not represented were Hawaii and Vermont.COVID19-slides-5
Although 70 percent of people responding felt that they were at high risk concerning COVID-19, patients expressed significant concern about losing access to treatment for their cancer. Patients with metastatic disease expressed the same level of anxiety about their cancer progressing as they did about acquiring COVID-19. Less than 20 percent of patients were unwilling to go to their doctor appointments in person to avoid exposure to the virus.COVID19-slides-8
Fifty percent of patients were unwilling to skip their next infusion treatment. Sixty-five percent of patients indicated they do not want to pause systemic therapy. More than 80 percent of patients still want to have scans for their disease.
These findings reveal that kidney cancer patients are anxious about their cancer progressing and may feel that their care is being sacrificed as part of the efforts to curb the growing pandemic.COVID19-slides-11
Nearly half of all patients indicated that they do not have access to virtual appointments or other services, despite the fact that many care centers are limiting in-person appointments.
While hospitals are making decisions based on scarce resources and societal needs, individualized care for cancer patients should not be abandoned.