Preliminary survey findings presented at the virtual 2021 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium show that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on patients with genitourinary malignancies.
As a result of the pandemic, 17.2% of patients reported delaying or avoiding seeking medical care, 12.0% reported avoiding going to a pharmacy to receive needed medications, and 11.8% reported missing at least 1 dose of a required medication, according to the survey. In addition, 26% reported that the pandemic led to a decrease in household income.
In addition, 25% of respondents said they thought the pandemic impacted their cancer treatment, 26% said they were concerned the pandemic may worsen their cancer care, and 64.5% said that since the start of the pandemic they were more afraid of being hospitalized, lead investigator Hala Borno, MD, assistant clinical professor in the Genitourinary Oncology Program at the University of California, San Francisco, reported.
Dr Borno reported survey results from 93 patients: 64 (65.3%) with prostate cancer, 20 (20.4%) with kidney cancer, and 14 (14.3%) with bladder cancer. Three-quarters of the patients reported having metastatic disease.
In response to questions about physician-initiated changes in cancer care, 61% of patients said their physicians monitored them remotely by video or telephone and 13% said their physicians decreased the frequency of clinic visits.
“The current COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all aspects of cancer care and forced us to re-examine the burdens we place on patients, both as part of conventional treatment and also in the context of cancer clinical trials,” Dr Borno told Renal & Urology News. “We have seen a dramatic shift towards use of telemedicine. This is beneficial to many. However, we will need to closely examine if this shift widens the treatment gap for the most vulnerable subset of patients.”
The survey is ongoing, with an effort to recruit racial and ethnic minorities to assess the burdens of the pandemic across a diverse patient population.
Borno H, Zhang S, Gomez LS, et al. Assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients with genitourinary malignancies. Presented at the virtual 2021 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium, February 11 to 13. Abstract 38.