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Effect of COVID-19 Epidemic on Delay of Diagnosis and Treatment Path for Patients with Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma

Authors Yang Y, Shen C, Hu C

Received 16 March 2020

Accepted for publication 7 May 2020

Published 25 May 2020 Volume 2020:12 Pages 3859—3864


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Professor Rudolph Navari

Youqi Yang, Chunying Shen, Chaosu Hu

Department of Radiation Oncology, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, Department of Oncology, Shanghai Medical College, Shanghai 200032, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence: Chaosu Hu No. 270, Dong’an Road, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China
Tel Fax + 8602164175590
Email [email protected]

Introduction: 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreaks have been occurring in China and other countries in the world. To prevent further spread of the disease, restrictions of population flow from the government and measures to reduce virus transmission from hospitals may lead to the delay of diagnosis and treatment in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC).
Methods: All NPC patients with radiotherapy indications were included from 20 weekdays before (group A) and after (group B) January 31, 2020, when the institute began to take measures against COVID-19. The waiting intervals of each step and variation from the diagnosis and treatment path of NPC between two groups were compared.
Results: Significant differences were found between the group A and group B in the median waiting days for pathological biopsy (5 vs 15, P=0.012), radiotherapy immobilization and simulation (3.5 vs 16.5, P< 0.001), validation of position and plan (20 vs 61, P< 0.001) and initiation of radiotherapy (28 vs 36, P=0.005). During the waiting period of radiotherapy, 32.4% of the NPC patients received an additional one cycle of chemotherapy to the original treatment strategy.
Conclusion: The prevalence of COVID-19 caused delay in the diagnosis and treatment of NPC patients to a certain extent. Additional chemotherapy could be considered to counteract the effect of treatment delay. More specific measures should be taken to balance the risk of delayed diagnosis and treatment of NPC and infection of COVID-19.

Keywords: COVID-19, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, radiotherapy

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