Impact of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer registration and cancer care: a European survey

ENCR Steering Committee

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Abstract

Background: The coronavirus disease COVID-19 pandemic posed a number of challenges to the oncology community, particularly the diagnosis and care of cancer patients while ensuring safety from the virus for both patients and professionals: minimization of visits to the hospital, cancellation of the screening programmes and the difficulties in the management and operation of cancer registries (CRs) while working remotely. This article describes the effects in the medium term of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer registration in Europe, focusing on changes in cancer detection and treatment, possible reduction of CR resources and difficulties in the access to data sources.

Methods: A questionnaire was distributed in June 2020 to the directors of 108 CRs from 34 countries affiliated to the European Network of Cancer Registries, providing a 37% response rate.

Results: The results of the survey showed that cancer-screening programmes were mostly stopped or slowed down in the majority of regions covered by the respondent CRs. Cancer diagnostics and treatments were severely disrupted. The cancer registration process was also disrupted, due to changes in the work modalities for the personnel, as well as to the difficulties in accessing sources and/or receiving the notifications. In some CRs, staff was allocated to different activities related to controlling the pandemic. Several CRs reported that they were investigating the impact of COVID-19 on cancer care via dedicated studies.

Conclusions: A careful analysis will be necessary for proper interpretation of temporal and geographical variations of the 2020 cancer burden indicators.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-315
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Volume32
Issue number2
Early online date22 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • cancer screening
  • cancer treatment
  • cancer registry
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • cancer diagnosis

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