WEDNESDAY, Feb. 24, 2021 (HealthDay News) – The fight against cancer is tough under normal circumstances, but many cancer survivors in the United States fear the coronavirus pandemic will interfere with their care and put their health at risk, according to news study.
“This study demonstrates the importance of clear communication between healthcare providers and patients facing concerns and uncertainties that may affect mental health during the pandemic as the landscape of healthcare delivery continues to decline. ‘evolve,’ lead researcher Corinne Leach said in a statement from the American Cancer Society. She is the organization’s senior principal scientist.
The data comes from survey responses from more than 1,200 cancer patients and survivors. It was conducted from March 25 to April 8, 2020 as part of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s Survivor Views Panel 2019-2020.
“The delays and cancellations noted by cancer survivors in the survey highlight the need for policy interventions and new delivery models that ensure the safety of cancer patients from receiving care, and the need for public policies that address financial concerns associated with the pandemic, “write the authors.
The survey, conducted at the start of the pandemic, found that a third were concerned about disruptions in their cancer care and treatment, while 77% said they felt at high risk of having severe health effects and were concerned about ICU admission or death from COVID -19.
More than a quarter (27%) of respondents feared the pandemic would make cancer care difficult and worried about having to make difficult spending choices, like choosing between medicine or food.
Fears of getting sick and uncertainty about their worry over COVID-19 were common among cancer survivors, leading them to take preventative measures such as social distancing and wearing a mask.
Many respondents reported loneliness and feelings of isolation due to social estrangement during the pandemic.
Another common concern was not being able to bring a companion to in-person health appointments. Even though they understood and respected the need for the rule to protect other patients and staff, the restriction caught cancer survivors off guard, especially when they received bad news, according to the study published February 24. in the Journal of Psychosocial Oncology.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has more on cancer survivors and COVID-19.
SOURCE: American Cancer Society, press release, February 24, 2021