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COVID-19
Global Cancer Care

Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Delivery of Oncology Services in India

In a study reported in The Lancet Oncology, Ranganathan et al quantified the enormous impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on delivery of cancer services in India. Study Details The study involved data from 41 cancer centers across the nation. The delivery of oncology services between March 1 and May...

COVID-19

Navigating the Post-Vaccine Pandemic

By now, most health-care workers have been vaccinated against COVID-19.* Physical immunity would appear to last for at least 6 months and probably longer. The physical pandemic for most oncologists is declining, with an end in sight. We are protected from the serious physical consequences of...

COVID-19
Issues in Oncology
Lung Cancer
Hepatobiliary Cancer

Selected Poster Presentations From the NCCN 2021 Annual Conference

Although once again, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) 2021 Annual Conference could not take place on site in Orlando, researchers presented their work virtually in the form of almost 100 posters. The ASCO Post has summarized some that we found particularly interesting. Many...

Global Cancer Care
COVID-19

Global Responses to COVID-19 Pandemic–Related Disruptions in Cancer Care

COVID-19 pandemic–related disruptions in cancer diagnosis, treatment, and research have varied worldwide and so have the responses to those disruptions. During the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO) 2021 International Conference on Surgical Cancer Care, members of the Global Forum of Cancer...

COVID-19

Remote Monitoring Program Reduced Hospitalization Among Patients With Cancer Infected With COVID-19

A study by researchers at Mayo Clinic Cancer Center found that patients with cancer diagnosed with COVID-19 who received care at home via remote patient monitoring were significantly less likely to require hospitalization for their illness, compared to patients with cancer infected with the virus...

Breast Cancer
COVID-19

Study Examines Relationship Between Risk of COVID-19 Infection and Breast Cancer Treatment

In a study led by researchers at NYU Langone Health and its Perlmutter Cancer Center involving more than 3,000 women treated for breast cancer at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City, only 64 patients, or 2% of the total study population, contracted the virus. Of this group, 10 died ...

Issues in Oncology
COVID-19

Organizations Issue Statement Encouraging Return to HPV Vaccination

Doctors and scientists across America at National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers and other organizations recently issued a joint statement urging the nation’s health-care systems, physicians, parents, children, and young adults to get human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination back on ...

Issues in Oncology
COVID-19

Association of Community Cancer Centers Releases Report: Trending Now in Cancer Care 2020

The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) released Trending Now in Cancer Care 2020, an annual report that identifies current and emerging trends in cancer programs across the country. The detailed report presents findings from focus groups that illuminate the short- and long-term impact...

COVID-19

A Seasoned Journalist Seeking Answers Reports From the Front Lines of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic remains a global health issue, putting unprecedented stress on health-care systems, with important implications for cancer care. Although at this stage the data are fairly limited, we know that patients with cancer are far more vulnerable to worse outcomes, including a greater ...

COVID-19

Coagulopathy and COVID-19 Infection

“Life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgment difficult.” —Hippocrates To complement The ASCO Post’s continued comprehensive coverage of the 2020 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting & Exposition, here are several abstracts selected from the...

Global Cancer Care
COVID-19
Survivorship
Issues in Oncology

Celebrating 50 Years of Cancer Progress: The International View

Although the National Cancer Act of 1971 has resulted in tremendous advances in cancer research, which have led to sharp declines in cancer mortality in the United States—from 1991 to 2018, there has been a 31% decrease in overall cancer death rates—and more than 17 million cancer survivors,1 much...

Breast Cancer
COVID-19

Inequities in Breast Cancer Screening During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Breast cancer screening took a sizeable hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research  showing that the number of screening mammograms completed in a large group of women living in Washington state plummeted by nearly half. Published by Amram et al in JAMA Network Open, the study...

Global Cancer Care
COVID-19

ASCO’s President-Elect Focuses on Advancing Equitable Cancer Care Through Innovation

Internationally renowned for his pioneering research in combining high-dose radiation therapy and chemotherapy in the treatment of locally advanced head and neck cancer to improve patient survival, ASCO’s President-Elect Everett E. Vokes, MD, FASCO, is dedicating his tenure as President to...

COVID-19

FDA Authorizes Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for Emergency Use in Adolescents

On May 10, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) to include adolescents aged 12 through 15. The FDA...

COVID-19

What You Need to Know About Cancer and the Coronavirus

As a three-time breast cancer survivor, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States this past January, I knew I had to do everything I could to avoid getting the virus. A host of lingering side effects from my surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments have left me with cardiovascular...

COVID-19

Surge of Patients With Advanced Cancer Expected Due to Delayed Diagnosis and Treatment During Pandemic

Pent up demand for cancer screenings, diagnostic workups, and treatments delayed or curtailed since the start of the pandemic is expected to result in a surge of patients—some with more advanced disease as a result of delays—seeking appointments with oncologists. “We are starting to see the...

COVID-19

Increased Loneliness Among Patients With Cancer During the COVID-19 Pandemic May Affect Symptom Burden

Loneliness and social isolation have been significant problems for the general population during the COVID-19 pandemic, but for patients with cancer, these issues were particularly acute, likely due to isolation and social distancing, according to a recent study published by Miaskowski et al in the ...

COVID-19

The COVID-19 Pandemic and Cancer Screening Deficits in the United States

In a retrospective cohort study reported in JAMA Oncology, Ronald C. Chen, MD, MPH, and colleagues quantified cancer screening deficits in the United States associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and identified differences in deficits according to region and socioeconomic status. Study Details The...

COVID-19

One vs Two Doses of the BNT162b2 COVID-19 Vaccine in Patients With Cancer: Immunogenicity and Efficacy

In an interim analysis of a prospective observational study reported in The Lancet Oncology, Monin et al found that a single dose of the BNT162b2 Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was poorly immunogenic in patients with cancer, with immunogenicity markedly improving at 2 weeks after a second dose...

Breast Cancer
COVID-19

COVID-19 Pandemic Drove Strategic New Breast Cancer Approaches to Avoid Hospitalization

The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly altered breast cancer treatment approaches, with a significant rise in neoadjuvant endocrine therapy for estrogen receptor–positive tumors, enabling immediate evidence-based treatment of women with an extremely common form of breast cancer, while delaying surgery and...

Global Cancer Care
COVID-19

Cancer Care in Sudan During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Sudan is one of Africa’s largest countries, rich in underutilized natural resources but rife with conflicts and civil wars that have been ongoing since it gained its independence in 1956. These problems have reflected negatively on the health-care system. Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, is a busy...

Leukemia
Multiple Myeloma
COVID-19

Recent Studies Explore Efficacy of COVID-19 Vaccination in Patients With Leukemia and Myeloma

Two new studies published in the journal Blood suggest that the BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine may have reduced efficacy in individuals with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and multiple myeloma. According to researchers, these studies could help inform the ideal time for vaccination of these...

COVID-19
Immunotherapy

Short-Term Safety of the BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine in Patients Receiving Immunotherapy

In an Israeli case-control study reported in a commentary in The Lancet Oncology, Waissengrin et al found that the short-term safety of the Pfizer BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine was similar in patients with cancer receiving immune checkpoint inhibitors compared with healthy controls. Study Details...

COVID-19

Cancer and COVID-19: Reflections at 1 Year

We who live and work in Seattle recently took note of two milestones: the first death of a patient from COVID-19 reported in the United States in Seattle on February 28, 2020, and recognition of 5,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the state of Washington on March 2, 2021. The juxtaposition of these two...

covid-19

Thomas K. Varghese, Jr, MD, on the Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Cancer Care

Thomas K. Varghese, Jr, MD, of Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, summarizes a panel discussion on how the COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted cancer screenings, when telemedicine works and when it doesn’t, opening alternative care sites in the community, and the emotional and mental toll the coronavirus has taken on health-care providers.

COVID-19

ASTRO Survey Explores Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Radiation Oncology

Radiation oncologists reported that new patients are arriving for treatment with more advanced-stage disease than before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new survey conducted by the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) this winter. The national survey of radiation therapy practice...

Breast Cancer
COVID-19

Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Delivery of Breast Cancer Care in New York

In a single-institution retrospective study focused on a New York City location reported in JCO Oncology Practice, Satish et al found that more than 40% of patients with breast cancer not infected with COVID-19 had a delay or change in care delivery due to the pandemic. Study Details The study...

Lung Cancer
COVID-19

Incidence of Brain Metastases in Patients Diagnosed With Stage IV NSCLC During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Computed tomography and/or magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated that 39% of patients diagnosed with stage IV non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) presented with de novo brain metastases during the COVID-19 pandemic. This percentage was higher than the historic rate of 25%, and many of these...

Colorectal Cancer
COVID-19

Treating Colorectal Cancer in the Time of COVID-19

The treatment of colorectal cancer has always been something of an art—but never more so than during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the spring of 2020, The ASCO Post asked three experts in this malignancy to share their concerns and their approaches to achieving good patient outcomes while minimizing...

COVID-19

ASTRO Recommendation on COVID-19 Vaccination for Patients Receiving Radiation Therapy

The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) has compiled a selection of resources for radiation oncology professionals. The resources were developed by clinical teams and based on the best available information at the time they were posted. Physicians and their patients must make the...

COVID-19

Evidence-Based Strategy for Improving Access to Colorectal Cancer Screening for Diverse Populations

A novel strategy of combining a drive-by flu vaccination clinic with an opportunity for participants to use a take-home fecal immunochemical test (FIT) increased access to colorectal screening among Black Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Results related to access to colorectal cancer...

COVID-19

Hematologic Cancers Increase Risk of COVID-19–Related Death vs Solid Tumors

Patients with cancer are at an increased risk of death due to COVID-19 compared with the general population. And hematologic cancers carry an even greater risk than solid tumors, according to a comprehensive meta-analysis from the Reboot: COVID-Cancer Project presented at the 2021 AACR Virtual...

COVID-19

Rates of Seroconversion Among Patients With Cancer Infected With COVID-19

Most people with cancer who are infected with COVID-19 produce antibodies at a rate comparable to the rest of the population—but their ability to do so depends on the type of malignancy and the treatments they’ve received, according to a new study published by Thakkar et al in Nature Cancer. The...

Breast Cancer
COVID-19

Time to Treatment Initiation for Breast Cancer During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Single-Institution Study

In a single-institution study reported in JCO Oncology Practice, Hawrot et al found that there was no increase in time to treatment initiation after histologic diagnosis in patients with newly diagnosed breast cancer during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. However, they did find...

COVID-19

Factors Associated With Severity of COVID-19 Infection in Patients With Cancer: Data From CCC19

Updated findings from a cohort of patients with cancer infected with COVID-19 included in the COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium (CCC19) were published by Petros Grivas, MD, PhD, and colleagues in Annals of Oncology. Authors identified factors associated with a more severe viral infection among...

gynecologic cancers
covid-19

Brian M. Slomovitz, MD, on the Impact of COVID-19 on Gynecologic Cancer Research

Brian M. Slomovitz, MD, of Florida International University, describes how emphasizing diversity and shifting away from clinical trials at universities helped The GOG Foundation, Inc., increase patient accrual by 50% in 2020 (ID # 10215).

Gynecologic Cancers
COVID-19
Immunotherapy

Recent Chemotherapy or Immunotherapy for Gynecologic Cancer Does Not Raise Risk of Death Due to COVID-19

Although some studies show that patients with cancer have a greater risk of health complications from COVID-19, a new study has found that recent chemotherapy or immunotherapy for gynecologic cancer does not raise the risk of hospitalization or death due to COVID-19. The study results were...

Hematologic Malignancies
COVID-19

New Survey Reveals Hesitancy Around COVID-19 Vaccination Among Patients With Hematologic Malignancies and Survivors

A survey of more than 6,500 U.S. patients with blood cancer and survivors revealed that only half are very likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine, while one in three is either unlikely or unsure about it. The nationwide survey was a collaboration between The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), Boston...

COVID-19

Repurposing Available Drugs for COVID-19: An Ongoing Initiative

As of this writing, no drugs have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of COVID-19, although several have received emergency use authorization and many others are being used off-label during the pandemic. In addition to searching for novel therapies, David...

COVID-19

Study Finds More Than Half of Cancer Survivors Have Underlying Medical Conditions Associated With Developing Severe COVID-19

A new study found that more than half (56.4%) of cancer survivors in the United States reported having additional underlying medical conditions associated with severe COVID-19 illness.1 The report, appearing in JNCI: The Journal of the National Cancer Institute, suggests that the prevalence of...

COVID-19

Expert Point of View: Ana Maria Lopez, MD

Ana Maria Lopez, MD, Professor and Vice Chair of Medical Oncology and Chief of Cancer Services for the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Jefferson Health New Jersey, commented on Dr. Reid’s presentation. “Dr. Reid presented a report about a robust cancer program that addresses the needs of rural...

COVID-19

Fallout From COVID-19: Decline in Cancer Screening and Increase in Cancer-Related Deaths

Various studies at institutions in the United States and abroad have shown a substantial decline in cancer screening rates during the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that fewer cancers will be detected by screening and when they do manifest, they will be at more advanced stages. Indeed,...

lung cancer
covid-19

Fred R. Hirsch, MD, PhD, on Searching for Therapeutic Strategies for Patients With Lung Cancer and COVID-19 Infection

Fred R. Hirsch, MD, PhD, of Mount Sinai Medical Center, invites his colleagues to enroll their patients in a large prospective study, for which he serves as Principal Investigator. The study is searching for solutions for treating patients with lung cancer who also have the coronavirus, because so many experience an aggressive course of infection.

covid-19

David Fajgenbaum, MD, MBA, on Repurposing Cancer Drugs to Treat COVID-19

David Fajgenbaum, MD, MBA, of the University of Pennsylvania, talks about his research efforts to find an already-approved drug that could treat his orphan disease—multicentric Castleman disease—and how that methodology may be applied to the coronavirus and the cytokine storm it can cause (Symposium 5).

Survivorship
COVID-19

Childhood Cancer Survivors and Health-Care Providers Satisfied With Video Visits During the COVID-19 Pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic limited in-person medical checkups last year, Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center offered video visits for the first time for long-term follow-up appointments for childhood cancer survivors. Due to the pandemic, virtual visits were adopted...

covid-19

Giuseppe Curigliano, MD, PhD: In the Face of COVID, Continuity in Cancer Care

Giuseppe Curigliano, MD, PhD, of the University of Milan and Istituto Europeo Oncologico, talks about designing public health measures focused on COVID-19 morbidity and mortality for cancer patients, defining treatment and vaccine priorities, and creating a model to assess the impact of control measures (Symposium 6).

covid-19

Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, on Highlights of AACR’s COVID-19 and Cancer Meeting

Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, of the University of California, Los Angeles and Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, and President of the American Association for Cancer Research, talks about why the meeting was held, how the coronavirus has affected cancer care and will impact long-term survivorship, as well as health-care disparities and changes to clinical trials.

Lymphoma
COVID-19

Anti-CD20 Monoclonal Antibodies and Risk of Severe COVID-19 Infection and Death in Patients With Lymphoma

Patients with lymphoma hospitalized for severe COVID-19 infection were at higher risk for prolonged hospital stay and death if they were treated with B-cell–depleting therapies (eg, rituximab, obinutuzumab) within the previous 12 months. The risk of persistent COVID-19 infection was also higher in...

COVID-19

ASCO’s Road to Recovery Report Outlines Lessons Learned From the COVID-19 Pandemic to Improve Oncology Care

In 2020, ASCO established the Steering Group on Cancer Care Delivery and Research in a Post-Pandemic Environment to evaluate the changes made in oncology care delivery, clinical research, and regulatory oversight in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as to make recommendations on how to...

COVID-19

FDA Issues Emergency Use Authorization for Third COVID-19 Vaccine

On February 27, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the third vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19. The EUA allows the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine to be distributed in the United States for use in individuals 18 years of age and older. The FDA...

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