The health emergency associated with Covid-19 has caused patients with chronic diseases such as cancer, to stay away from clinics, postpone their check-ups or avoid medical consultation, a situation that has crucial implications for people’s health. The success in the treatment and prognosis of many of these pathologies is based on their early detection, as well as on their timely attention, continuous follow-up, medical accompaniment and treatment.
A recent article in The Guardian estimates that by 2021 there will be a 20% increase in cancer mortality due to delays in diagnoses, oncological surgeries, consultations and delays in patient care. Experts say the effects of delays in care could be reflected in cancer survival over the next 10 years.
Many patients with potentially treatable diseases could thus be diagnosed at very advanced and incurable stages as a result of late detection. A four-week delay in cancer treatment is associated with increased mortality in surgical, systemic treatment and radiotherapy indications for 7 types of cancer.
Policies focused on minimizing delays in cancer treatment initiation could improve survival outcomes at the population level.It is also worth highlighting the leading role of self-care in times of health emergency. This includes constant consultation with the physician, diagnostic tests and adherence to treatment, practices that have been declining in the months of the pandemic.
As part of World Cancer Day, which is celebrated on the 4th of February every year, pharmaceutical companies like Roche have joined the #WorldCancerDay and #IAmandIWill campaign, which draws attention to cancer as a pathology that does not stop at cultural barriers or confinement measures.
It also seeks to raise awareness about the importance of promoting and building proposals leveraged on tele-medicine and innovation that help patients and their families, to make their diagnoses in time and keep their treatments.