A snapshot on radiotherapy for head and neck cancer patients during the COVID-19 pandemic: a survey of the Italian Association of Radiotherapy and Clinical Oncology (AIRO) head and neck working group

Published on Feb 1, 2021in Radiologia Medica2
· DOI :10.1007/S11547-020-01296-7
Francesca De Felice20
Estimated H-index: 20
(Sapienza University of Rome),
E. D'Angelo6
Estimated H-index: 6
+ 18 AuthorsEster Orlandi22
Estimated H-index: 22
Sources
Abstract
The objective of the paper was to assess real-life experience in the management of head and neck cancer (HNC) patients during the COVID-19 pandemic in radiotherapy departments and to evaluate the variability in terms of adherence to American Society of Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO) recommendations. In May 2020, an anonymous 30-question online survey, comparing acute phase of outbreak and pre-COVID-19 period, was conducted. Two sections exploited changes in general management of HNC patients and different HNC primary tumors, addressing specific statements from ASTRO ESTRO consensus statement as well. Eighty-eight questionnaires were included in the demographic/clinical workflow analysis, and 64 were analyzed for treatment management. Forty-eight percent of radiotherapy departments became part of oncologic hubs. First consultations reduced, and patients were addressed to other centers in 33.8 and 18.3% of cases, respectively. Telematic consultations were used in 50% of follow-up visits and 73.9% of multidisciplinary tumor board discussions. There were no practical changes in the management of patients affected by different primitive HNCs. Hypofractionation was not favored over conventional schedules. Compared to pre-COVID era, the clinical workflow was highly re-organized, whereas there were no consistent changes in RT indications and schedules.
References4
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The impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on the management of head and neck cancer must be addressed. Immediate measures to reduce transmission rates and protect patients and providers take priority and necessitate some delays in care, particularly for patients with mild symptoms or less aggressive cancers. However, strict guidelines have yet to be developed, and many unintentional delays in care are to be expected based on the magnitude of the looming public health crisis....
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In December, 2019, a pneumonia associated with the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) emerged in Wuhan, China. We aimed to further clarify the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of 2019-nCoV pneumonia. In this retrospective, single-centre study, we included all confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV in Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital from Jan 1 to Jan 20, 2020. Cases were confirmed by real-time RT-PCR and were analysed for epidemiological, demographic, clinical, and radiological features and laboratory...
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