We are bringing you the results of the survey which was conducted by ENGAGe member societies in cooperation with ESGO clinicians in different European countries to evaluate the effects of COVID with a patient perspective for the first time in the literature as cancer patients are at high risk for severe cases of COVID-19.
Background: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on European gynaecological cancer patients under active treatment or follow-up has not been documented. We sought to capture the patient perceptions of the COVID-19 implications and the worldwide imposed treatment modifications.
Methods: A patient survey was conducted in 16 European countries, using a new COVID-19-related questionnaire, developed by ENGAGe and the Hospital Anxiety & Depression Scale questionnaire (HADS). The survey was promoted by national patient advocacy groups and charitable organisations.
Findings: We collected 1388 forms; 592 online and 796 hard-copy (May, 2020). We
excluded 137 due to missing data. Median patients’ age was 55 years (range: 18–89),
54.7% had ovarian cancer and 15.5% were preoperative. Even though 73.2% of patients
named cancer as a risk factor for COVID-19, only 17.5% were more afraid of
COVID-19 than their cancer condition, with advanced age (>70 years) as the only
significant risk factor for that. Overall, 71% were concerned about cancer progression
if their treatment/follow-up was cancelled/postponed. Most patients (64%) had their
care continued as planned, but 72.3% (n = 892) said that they received no information
around overall COVID-19 infection rates of patients and staff, testing or measures
taken in their treating hospital. Mean HADS Anxiety and Depression Scores were 8.8
(range: 5.3–12) and 8.1 (range: 3.8–13.4), respectively. Multivariate analysis identified
high HADS-depression scores, having experienced modifications of care due to
the pandemic and concern about not being able to visit their doctor as independent
predictors of patients’ anxiety.
Interpretation: Gynaecological cancer patients expressed significant anxiety about
progression of their disease due to modifications of care related to the COVID-19
pandemic and wished to pursue their treatment as planned despite the associated risks.
Healthcare professionals should take this into consideration when making decisions
that impact patients care in times of crisis and to develop initiatives to improve patients’
communication and education.
The results can be found here.
Read about conducting the survey here.