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Experts call for patients to access cancer treatment without delay despite Covid pandemic

Recent research suggests that a one-month delay in treatment can result in 6 per cent increase in risk of death, underscoring the urgent need for patients to get the care that they require as soon as possible.

By: Express News Service | Pune | December 10, 2020 7:53:37 pm
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused disruptions to many services for people living with cancer in Asia over the last year, as well as cancer screening in some countries. (Representational Image)

A coalition of leading Asian oncologists, in partnership with AstraZeneca, are calling for patients to access cancer treatment services without delay, as part of the New Normal, Same Cancer campaign.

Although the long-term impact on patients is not fully known yet, recent research suggests that a one-month delay in treatment can result in 6 per cent increase in risk of death, underscoring the urgent need for patients to get the care that they require as soon as possible.

The campaign encourages people diagnosed with cancer to resume treatment that may have been paused, and those people with possible cancer signs and symptoms, or who have missed routine checks, to consult a doctor. A statement issued by the Coalition of experts from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore said that timely diagnosis and treatment were critical factors to determine the success of cancer treatment.

“As countries enter a new normal, we strongly urge cancer patients to access the right services without delay,” the coalition members have said.

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused disruptions to many services for people living with cancer in Asia over the last year, as well as cancer screening in some countries. Even where services were maintained, some patients have delayed appointments, treatment and follow-up appointments for fear of contracting the virus.

In a survey of 480 onco-surgeons across India, it is estimated that 1,92,000 patients are likely to have delays in the timely diagnosis of cancer, read the statement.

“People are understandably more cautious about visiting hospitals and clinics at this time but avoidable delays in diagnosis or treatment can result in the cancer being harder to treat and worse outcomes for patients,” said Fong Pei-Chieh, medical director of AstraZeneca, Asia, in the statement.

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