Developing a holistic contingency plan: Challenges and dilemmas for cancer patients during the COVID-19

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During the first quarter of 2020 the world is experiencing a pandemic of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome‑Coronavirus‑2 (SARS‑CoV‑2), a novel beta coronavirus that is responsible for the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The COVID-19 pandemic revealed that healthcare systems around the world were not prepared to deal with either the direct effects of the pandemic or with the indirect effects that are imposed on the health of patients with chronic disorders such as cancer patients. Some challenges and dilemmas currently faced during the pandemic include the management of cancer patients during the treatment and follow-up phases, the assessment of the safety of treatments currently used for the management of SARS‑CoV‑2 for use in cancer patients, the development of psychoeducation and emotional support for cancer patients and the safe conduct of clinical trials involving participation of cancer patients. Evidence from the literature supports the need for the urgent development of a holistic contingency plan which will include clear guidelines for the protection and comprehensive care of cancer patients. The implementation of such a plan is expected to have many beneficial effects by mainly minimizing the increased morbidity and mortality of cancer patients that could result as an adverse consequence of the COVID-19 or future pandemics.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCancer Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • cancer
  • contingency plan
  • COVID-19
  • management
  • prevention


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