Live Virtual Presentation Clinical Oncology Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting 2020

Practical considerations for treating patients with cancer in the COVID-19 pandemic (#63)

Eva Segelov 1
  1. Monash Health and Monash University, Clayton, VIC, Australia

At the start of the pandemic, there was no information about the risk that cancer or cancer treatment conferred to acquiring COVID-19, nor impact on outcome. To address what appeared to be a significant competing risk of death, a multidisciplinary group of Australian and New Zealand clinicians met to devise guidelines that could prompt a clinical reasoning process for cancer patients. A detailed document was produced and endorsed by COSA and MOGA and made available on the Cancer Australia COVID-19 resource page. The corresponding academic manuscript was published in JCO- Oncology Practice (DOI: 10.1200/OP.20.00229). The document first addressed general principles, including: risk assessment; prioritising resources and choosing therapy; patient support during treatment; supporting staff; approaches to government and regulatory bodies. The next section addressed: clinical trials and clinical research; vulnerable populations including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and remote communities;  telehealth; communication and psychosocial care. A detailed matrix suggested a model for routine followup that would rely on telehealth and hand-over or shared care with local services including GP. A table listed suggested prioritization factors for patient care to be used if resources became severely restricted, with an accompanying session on access to critical care/ICU and a broad guide for life expectancies for various cancer scenarios. The second half of the paper was a detailed table listing multiple common cancer scenarios based on tumour type and subtype, detailing for each the specific considerations and alternatives for clinicians to apply to individual patients. This unique resource was reviewed by the writing group and updated as further information came to hand during the pandemic.