BACKGROUND: The management of older cancer patients has been highly challenging for clinicians in a health-care system operating at maximum capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic . PATIENTS AND
METHODS: We analyzed data from 9 different institutions . The primary endpoint was to assess the prevalence of adapted patient care during the pandemic for elderly cancer patients . The secondary endpoint was to assess the incidence of hospitalization and mortality due to COVID-19 . All patients were older than 65years of age .
RESULTS: We analyzed data from 332 outpatients' case files between 9th of March and 30th of April 2020 . The median age was 75years (range : 65-101) and 53% were male . Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than half of the outpatients received modified patient care, defined as postponement or cancellation of surgery, irradiation scheme adapted, systemic treatment or the use of telemedicine . Among patients with localized cancer , 60% had a change in management strategy due to the pandemic . Changes in management strategy were made for 53% of patients at the metastatic stage . GCSF was used, in 83% of patients, increasing considerably in the context of the pandemic . Sixty-nine percent of physicians used telemedicine . In the final analysis, only one patient was hospitalized for COVID-19 infection . No deaths due to COVID-19 were reported in elderly cancer patients during this time period .
CONCLUSION: Our study is the first to assess modification of patient care in elderly cancer outpatients during an epidemic . With this unprecedented crisis, our objective is to protect our patients from infection via protective barrier measures and social distancing, but also to guarantee the continuity of cancer care without overexposing this fragile population . Physicians were able to adapt their practice and used new forms of management, like telemedicine.