Expert advocates greater attention to cancer patients in Coronavirus treatment

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An oncologist (tumour expert), Dr Abisoye Abayomi, says cancer patients require more attention in the fight against Coronavirus (COVID-19).

He told the Newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday that cancer patients had been disproportionally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Abayomi noted that the impact of the virus on cancer patients was more devastating since the pre-existing cancer condition made the fight against the virus more Herculean.

He said that a delay in cancer diagnosis, while treating COVID-19 could be responsible for avoidable deaths at the height of the pandemic.

“A late-stage cancer diagnosis could also be responsible for millions of preventable deaths across the world during the pandemic.

“Where there are delays, clinicians and patients should consider alternative tests like specialised liquid biopsy to help diagnose and identify cancers,’’ he said.

He noted also that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted negatively on the delivery of cancer care and disrupted work on cancer research and stressed the need for experts and relevant agencies to additionally discuss the potential long-lasting impact of the pandemic on cancer care due to its deleterious effect on research.

He stressed that there was a need for governments to highlight data at the intersection of COVID-19 and cancer, including the biological interplay between the two diseases and practical recommendations for the treatment of cancer during a pandemic.

Dr. Abayomi called for urgent policy interventions that could minimise and potentially lessen the negative impact of the coronavirus on cancer patients.