Impacts of COVID19 Pandemic on Care of the Patients with Cancer

Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 30 (3):111-113 (2020)
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Abstract

COVID-19 was declared as a pandemic by WHO on 11 March 2020. Three days later, the U.S. Surgeon General recommended stopping elective surgeries. The healthcare capacity that is either required now or soon expected, for the treatment of COVID-19 is limited all over the world. Hence, we need to Tlatten the curve of hospital admissions. We need to ethically examine under which ethical criteria canceling or postponing so-called nonurgent surgeries to an unpredictable date is a reasonable, although difTicult decision during the pandemic. The major impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on patients with cancer could be listed as i) age as a common risk factor for cancer and COVID-19 caused mortality; ii) patients are considered to be immunocompromised that means they have a higher risk of getting the infection; iii) the mainstream treatment of various cancers involves surgeries, after which patients might need ventilators; iv) the postponed treatments will likely advance their cancer stages by time; v) the cancer survivors have regular follow-ups requiring hospital visits; vi) COVID-19 causes anxiety which could be predicted to be detrimental for the mental health of patients with cancer and may potentially impair their immune system. These issues collectively might be expected to cause an increase in cancer-related mortality rates. Therefore, immediate action plans are needed to provide the best care for patients with cancer during the pandemic.

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