One month delay in cancer care may increase risk of death: study

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PARIS, France – Delays in cancer treatment by just one month can greatly increase patients’ risk of death, according to research published Wednesday, the most advanced to sound the alarm about the impact of the coronavirus epidemic on other health conditions.

Delays in treatment occur in normal times, but the spread of COVID-19 has caused unprecedented disruptions in health services.

In a new study published in the BMJ Medical Journal, researchers in the UK and Canada found that treatment delays – whether for surgery, radiotherapy or other treatments such as chemotherapy – had a significant effect on the mortality of seven types of cancer patients. .

“No systematic effort has been made to look at all the evidence of what it means to delay a variety of treatments for cancer patient outcomes,” said Ajay Agarwal, a co-author and clinical clinicologist and associate professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical. Medicine.

“Because we know this is happening to cancer patients during the Covid-19 epidemic, it is important to understand the real impact.”

The study found that even a month’s delay could increase a patient’s risk of dying by six to 13 percent. The longer the wait for treatment, the greater the risk.

Based on dozens of international studies published over the past two decades, the authors called these findings “self-extinction.”

The research suggests that “for most major cancers and treatments there is no delay in ‘safe’ treatment”, Agarwal told AFP.

The researchers estimated that a 12-week delay in surgery for all patients with breast cancer – during and after the COVID-19L downdown, would result in 1,400 more deaths in the UK, 6,100 in the United States, 700 in Canada and 500 in Australia.

‘Obscure’ balance

Many hospitals with major coronavirus outbreaks were initially forced to postpone non-emergency procedures to avoid putting patients at risk.

In Britain, researchers say, many conditions, including many colorectal surgeries, are considered safe to be 10 to 12 weeks late.

“Our study suggests that this is not the case and in fact can increase the risk of premature death by about 20 percent. Delays in chemotherapy for bowel cancer can increase the risk of death by 44 percent over the same period.”

He called for urgent action to address backlogs and alternative treatment modalities for patients with “short but equally effective radiation therapy”.

The researchers based their calculations on an analysis of 34 studies, with information on processes for bladder, breast, colon, rectum, lung and uterus, as well as head and structure cancers.

Overall, they found that a four-week delay in surgery increased the risk of death by six to eight percent.

With some systemic treatments for colorectal cancer being postponed for four weeks, coupled with a 13 percent increase in risk of death, even more negative effects were seen for other treatments being suspended.

In response to the study, Justin Stabing, professor of cancer medicine and medical oncology at Imperial College London, said it was important to balance COVID-19 risks with those involved in delays.

He added that he had co-authored research this month in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggesting that fat patients have a much higher cancer mortality rate than non-cancer patients.

“This is a very complex, evolving and difficult situation because we clearly need to protect COVID-19 sensitive cancer patients,” he said in a comment to the Science Media Center.

Ongoing research suggests that earlier this year saw a recession in the emergency room for epidemics such as lockout, heart attack and stroke, while the World Health Organization’s impact on the fight against HIV, malaria and tuberculosis is alarming.

In a study published in the August issue of the Jammu Network Open Journal, researchers found that the number of weekly diagnosed cancers in the United States dropped by about 0 percent during March and April compared to the recent average.


ન્સી Agency France-Press

Cancer, Cancer Treatment, Death, COVID-19, Coronavirus, Medicine, Health, ANC, Chemotherapy, Surgery, Radiotherapy, Epidemic