Sharyn Lewin, MD, FACS, discusses the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on cancer care.
Sharyn Lewin, MD, FACS, assistant clinical professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Icahn School of Medicine, The Mount Sinai Hospital, gynecologic oncologist and medical director of the Department of Gynecologic Oncology, Holy Name Medical Center, discusses the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on cancer care.
New Jersey is an epicenter of COVID-19, says Lewin. Workers on the frontlines have been battling the virus for the past 6 to 8 weeks. The pandemic had immediate effects on the health care system. In oncology, telehealth became a primary means of physician and patient interaction, particularly for older, asymptomatic patients, says Lewin.
Though providers should weigh the risks and benefits of therapy on a case by case basis, the majority of patients have stopped receiving chemotherapy during the pandemic. In addition to chemotherapy holidays, many surgeries have been postponed. For example, the last surgery Lewin did was in early March. During this time, chemotherapy, radiation, and hormonal therapy have been given up front, says Lewin. In endometrial cancer, that includes the use of levonorgestrel intrauterine devices. The pandemic has underscored the importance of interdisciplinary care, which in many cases, has been guided by national webinars, concludes Lewin.