Dr. Chang on the Impact of COVID-19 on the Surgical Management of GU Cancers

Partner | Cancer Centers | <b>Dana Farber</b>

Steven Lee Chang, MD, discusses the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 on the surgical management of patients with genitourinary cancers.

Steven Lee Chang, MD, assistant professor of surgery, Harvard Medical School, associate surgeon, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, discusses the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on the surgical management of patients with genitourinary (GU) cancers.

Many patients with GU cancers do not require immediate surgical intervention, Chang says. For example, patients with early-stage renal cell carcinoma (RCC) can often be monitored or treated with alternative therapies, such as ablation.

Patients with low-risk prostate or bladder cancers may also be eligible to safely receive nonsurgical management, explains Chang.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, specific protocols were formulated to assess a patient’s urgency for surgery, Chang continues. For example, patients with stage III RCC were categorized as very urgent, as withholding surgery could be detrimental to a patient’s outcome. 

Patients with upper tract urothelial carcinoma who require nephroureterectomy and those with muscle-invasive bladder cancer were also deemed urgent, concludes Chang.