Ovarian Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Social Media Survey: How COVID-19 Is Affecting Gynecologic Oncology Practice

By: Joseph Cupolo
Posted: Wednesday, September 16, 2020

A social media survey, published in the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer, documented changes in the practice of gynecologic oncology during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The study, conducted by Fabio Martinelli, MD, of the Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan, and Annalisa Garbi, MD, of the European Institute of Oncology, Milan, determined that COVID-19 affected the prioritization and identification of strategies to reduce hospital access and length of stay.

“The main strength of this survey was the ability to capture real-world daily practice among respondents across the world; furthermore, with a high engagement rate and a 30% response rate, social media could be considered a new tool for conducting surveys,” Drs. Martinelli and Garbi commented.

The investigators distributed an online anonymous survey using social media consisting of 33 questions regarding interactions between gynecologic cancers and COVID-19. A total of 86% of respondents completed the survey, totaling 187 physicians surveyed across 49 countries. The majority (76%) were gynecologic oncologists.

The investigators determined that 97.3% of respondents reported that COVID-19 affected their clinical practice. Globally, surgical practice (30% no longer performed laparoscopy), medical oncology (30%–40% noted changes in chemotherapeutic schedules or indications), and radiation oncology (24% noted an increase in indications) were impacted by COVID-19.

Most of the respondents did not alter their treatment indications if patients were COVID-19–negative, whereas treatments were generally postponed in patients who were COVID-19–positive. Treatments were considered a priority for newly diagnosed epithelial ovarian cancer, early-stage high-risk uterine cancers, and locally advanced cervical cancer. In particular, patients with early-stage epithelial ovarian cancer who did not have COVID-19 were considered for full staging by 81% of respondents (19% of patients tested positive for COVID-19). Conversely, surgery was not considered in 41% of COVID-19–positive women versus 8% of COVID-19–negative women with early-stage epithelial ovarian cancer.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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