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Pandemic greatly reduced access to musculoskeletal cancer care

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Access to and onset of musculoskeletal cancer care was substantially reduced by the COVID-19 pandemic, although post-operative morbidity and mortality did not seem to worsen, according to a study.

In this study, researchers compared pre-pandemic patients and pandemic patients. There was a 70% reduction in new registrations during the pandemic (235 to 69). Patients also opted for second opinion consultations less during the pandemic (25% vs 16%) and took less time to make treatment decisions (16 days vs 20 days). There was a 33% reduction in the mean time to surgery between the pre-pandemic cohort and the pandemic cohort.

Thirty-day postoperative morbidity needing readmission and perioperative intensive care remained similar between the cohorts.

In 92.8% of patients, teleconsultations were found to be medically safe.

The authors concluded that “teleconsultation is an effective tool in optimizing follow up strategy.”

Prajapati A, Gupta S, Nayak P, et al. The effect of COVID-19: Adopted changes and their impact on management of musculoskeletal oncology care at a tertiary referral centre. J Clin Orthop Trauma. 2021;101651. doi: 10.1016/j.jcot.2021.101651. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34703161; PMCID: PMC8531238.