Patients with cancer continued to experience COVID-19-related disruptions to their care in 2022, according to research presented at the NCCN 2023 Annual Conference.
The study showed that disruptions in care decreased over time. However, at the last time point studied, patients were most likely to miss cancer-related appointments because they tested positive for COVID-19.
This longitudinal study was designed to evaluate how disruptions in care have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic and to measure the psychosocial impact of interrupted care.
Researchers surveyed 173 adults who had been diagnosed with cancer a mean of 9.1 years prior. The patients’ mean age was 60.4 years, and 80% were women.
Cancer diagnoses included breast (31%), hematologic (28%), gynecologic (8%), gastrointestinal (6%), and other (22%) cancers. Most patients (67%) were in remission, 13% had their first active cancer, and 10% were experiencing relapse or recurrence.
Patients were surveyed at 3 time points: September-December 2020, June-July 2021, and June-July 2022.
The patients were more likely to report disruptions to care earlier in the pandemic (45% for September-December 2020) than later in the pandemic (16% for both subsequent time periods).
During September-December 2020, the disruptions affected imaging (17%), lab services (17%), routine screening (12%), treatment sessions (6%), supportive services (6%), and other care (8%).
During the later time periods, most disruptions were related to routine screening (7% in June-July 2021 and 5% in June-July 2022), imaging (5% and 3%, respectively), and lab services (4% and 3%).
The proportion of patients who ever tested positive for COVID-19 increased from 2% in September-December 2020 to 6% in June-July 2021 and 25% in June-July 2022. By the third time period, 96% of patients had been vaccinated.
Despite the high vaccination rate, more patients missed a cancer-related appointment due to COVID-19 positivity during June-July 2022 (31%) than during September-December 2020 (4%) or June-July 2021 (5%).
Patients who experienced disrupted care had higher PROMIS-29 anxiety scores and depression scores at all time points. However, anxiety and depression decreased over time.
“Our results underscore the continued need for tracking pandemic-related disruptions in cancer care, as well as providing accessible psychosocial support and resources among those experiencing disruptions in their cancer care,” said study presenter Erica E. Fortune, PhD, the director of research at Cancer Support Community.
Disclosures: This research was supported by AbbVie, Amgen Oncology, Astellas Pharma, Bristol Myers Squibb, Genentech, Gilead Sciences, Lilly Oncology, Merck & Co, Inc, Novocure, and Takeda Oncology.
Fortune EE, Morris VG, Lawrence C, Zaleta AK. COVID-19 impact and psychosocial well-being among adults living with cancer: A longitudinal analysis. NCCN 2023. March 31 – April 2, 2023. Abstract HSR23-096.