Head and neck cancer radiotherapy amid COVID-19 pandemic: Report from Milan, Italy

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Background: Management of head and neck cancers (HNC) in radiation oncology in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) era is challenging. Aim of our work is to report organization strategies at a radiation therapy (RT) department in the first European area experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: We focused on (a) dedicated procedures for HNC, (b) RT scheduling, and (c) health care professionals' protection applied during the COVID-19 breakdown (from March 1, 2020 to April 30, 2020). Results: Applied procedures are reported and discussed. Forty-three patients were treated. Image-guided, intensity modulated RT was performed in all cases. Median overall treatment time was 50 (interquartile range: 47-54.25) days. RT was interrupted/delayed in seven patients (16%) for suspected COVID-19 infection. Two health professionals managing HNC patients were proven as COVID-19 positive. Conclusion: Adequate and well-timed organization allowed for the optimization of HNC patients balancing at the best of our possibilities patients' care and personnel's safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1482-1490
Number of pages9
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2020


  • COVID-19
  • departmental procedures
  • head and neck cancer
  • health care protections
  • radiation oncology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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