Scientists from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have estimated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by SARS-CoV-2, on global cancer mortality and proposed a model to minimize this excess mortality. The study was published in the journal Cancer Causes & Control.
The researchers used published data to develop an online tool that estimates the risk of cancer mortality related to delays to treatment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and that informs strategies to mitigate this excess risk of mortality. The team used head and neck cancer, a known time-dependent disease, as a model for the tool. The model was applied to estimate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on data from 15 oncological services from around the world and to simulate the worldwide impact using data from the IARC Global Cancer Observatory.
The tool demonstrates that maintaining higher levels of cancer treatment during the COVID-19 outbreak and achieving more rapid increases in treatment levels during the post-outbreak period can reduce the number of accumulated patients needing treatment and decrease the additional risk of dying due to longer time to treatment initiation.
Matos LL, Forster CHQ, Marta GN, Castro Junior G, Ridge JA, Hirata D, et al.
The hidden curve behind COVID-19 outbreak: the impact of delay in treatment initiation in cancer patients and how to mitigate the additional risk of dying—the head and neck cancer model
Cancer Causes Control, Published online 11 March 2021;