Change in practice in gynecologic oncology during the COVID-19 pandemic: A social media survey

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Abstract

Objective COVID-19 has affected gynecologic cancer management. The goal of this survey was to evaluate changes that occurred in gynecologic oncology practice during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods A anonymous survey consisting of 33 questions (https://sites.google.com/view/gyncacovidfmartinelli) regarding interaction between gynecologic cancers and COVID-19 was distributed online via social media from April 9 to April 30, 2020. Basic descriptive statistics were applied. Analytics of survey-diffusion and generated-interest (visualizations, engagement rates, response rate) were analyzed. Results The survey received 20 836 visualizations, generating an average engagement rates by reach of 4.7%. The response rate was 30%. A total of 86% of respondents completed the survey, for a total of 187 physicians surveyed across 49 countries. The majority (143/187; 76%) were gynecologic oncologists, and most were ≤50 years old (146/187; 78%). A total of 49.7% (93/187) were facing the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, while 26.7% (50/187) and 23.5% (44/187) were in the peak and plateau phases, respectively. For 97.3% (182/187) of respondents COVID-19 affected or changed their respective clinical practice. Between 16% (27/165) (before surgery) and 25% (26/102) (before medical treatment) did not perform any tests to rule out COVID-19 infection among patients. The majority of respondents did not alter indications of treatment if patients were COVID-19-negative, while treatments were generally postponed in COVID-19-positive patients. Treatments were considered priority for: early stage high-risk uterine cancers (85/187; 45%), newly diagnosed epithelial ovarian cancer (76/187; 41%), and locally advanced cervical cancer (76/187; 41%). Treatment of early stage low-grade endometrioid endometrial cancer was deferred according to 49% (91/187) of respondents, with hormonal treatment as the option of therapy (31%; 56/178). A total of 77% (136/177) of respondents reported no changes in (surgical) treatment for early stage cervical cancer in COVID-19-negative patients, while treatment was postponed by 54% (96/177) of respondent, if the patient tested COVID-19-positive. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy for advanced ovarian cancers was considered by over one-third of respondents as well as hypofractionation of radiation treatment for locally advanced cervical cancers. Conclusion COVID-19 affected the treatment of gynecologic cancers patients, both in terms of prioritization and identification of strategies to reduce hospital access and length of stay. Social media is a reliable tool to perform fast-tracking, worldwide surveys.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1101-1107
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Gynecological Cancer
Volume30
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2020

Keywords

  • cervical cancer
  • gynecology
  • ovarian cancer
  • uterine cancer
  • vulvar and vaginal cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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