As COVID-19 hotspots continue to appear across the US, it is important for breast cancer patients to know that although some aspects of their treatment plan may continue to be delayed, they are not being forgotten. As more studies about the risks for cancer patients during the pandemic continue to emerge, so has professional medical consensus for safe cancer management and treatment.
The American Society of Breast Surgeons has published recommendations to help guide physicians and their patients through the common scenarios many people now unfortunately found themselves in:
● How do we care for our asymptomatic but high-risk patients presenting for office visits in the post-COVID era?
● How do we handle the backlog of patients whose surgical treatment was delayed due to the pandemic?
● As our operating rooms reopen, how should patients who were placed on endocrine therapy prior to definitive surgery be managed?
● As we emerge from the pandemic, how do we manage patients who have already begun neoadjuvant chemotherapy?
● How do we manage a patient who is not a candidate for breast conserving surgery but is ready for their operation?
It is important for breast cancer patients to understand their treatment plans can be regionally impacted based on local infection rates, available hospital capacity, ICU capacity and the number of available ventilators. Although it can be extremely frustrating, delaying breast cancer surgery is for the safety of patients and will never be delayed if postponement would cause a negative impact on overall survival.
If patients have questions or concerns about regional guidelines as it pertains to breast cancer surgery and/or breast reconstruction, it is very important to reach out to the medical care team directly.
For more information on COVID-19 and breast cancer, continue reading HERE.