Cancer in corona times

 Department of Anaesthesia, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre, Sector-5, Rohini, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Shagun Bhatia Shah,
H. No: 174 – 175, Ground Floor, Pocket -17, Sector-24, Rohini, Delhi - 110 085
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sja.SJA_317_20

Humanity is witnessing an unprecedented tsunami of corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients. Till date, India houses 10,453 confirmed COVID-19 patients with a death toll of 358 nationwide and the number is steadily rising with each passing day. The capital city of Delhi, harbouring 1510 patients, has the dubious distinction of being the second largest hotspot for COVID positive patients in India, second only to the state of Maharashtra. Being immuno-compromised, cancer patients are first more susceptible to catch this virus and secondly may witness a more devastating course. Having cancer is a bigger risk factor for contracting COVID-19 than even old age. “Death due to untreated cancer is a much bigger reality than death due to COVID-19,” is one perspective that advocates continuation of cancer therapy in corona times albeit by converting cancer hospitals into virtual corona-free fortresses with several tiers of barriers against corona. The immediate, short and long term implications of the corona pandemic and a nationwide lockdown to curtail it, on cancer patients and their caregivers is discussed at length here tempered with experience from the largest tertiary care oncology setup of Northern India. Rigorous literature review based on Medline, Google scholar, Embase, Cochrane and Scopus database search was utilized.

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