Cancer vs. COVID: When a Pandemic Upended Cancer Care

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Tue, August 11, 2020

When COVID-19 struck, health care pivoted hard. Any unnecessary procedures or appointments were postponed. For people with cancer, that pivot was particularly shattering.

CBSSM's Laila Gharzai, Reshma Jagsi, and colleagues interviewed eight physicians to identify specific communication challenges related to COVID-19 and surveyed 48 patients to get their perspective. They identified three core communication strategies and applied them to eight specific scenarios impacting patients, including concerns around risk of COVID-19, delays in testing or treatment, changes to treatment and follow up care. Informed by the communication strategies, the team created examples of language that oncologists could use to respond to patients empathetically. Their results are published in JAMA Oncology.