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
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.
#1David J Thomson (University of Manchester)H-Index: 10
#2David A. Palma (UWO: University of Western Ontario)H-Index: 57
Last. Sue S. Yom (UCSF: University of California, San Francisco)H-Index: 39
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Introduction Due to the unprecedented disruption of health care services by the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Society of Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO) identified an urgent need to issue practice recommendations for radiation oncologists treating head and neck cancer (HNC), in a time of heightened risk for patients and staff, and of limited resources. Methods A panel of international experts from ASTRO, ESTRO and select Asia-Pacific co...
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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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Lombardy has represented the Italian and European epicenter of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Although most clinical efforts within hospitals were diverted towards the care of virally infected patients, therapies for patients with cancer, including radiotherapy (RT), have continued. During both the first and second pandemic waves, several national and regional organizations provided Italian and Lombardian RT departments with detailed guidelines aimed at ensuring safe treatment...
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