BACKGROUND: Since December 2019, China has experienced a public health emergency from the coronavirus disease, which has become a pandemic and is impacting the care of cancer patients worldwide . This study evaluated the impact of the pandemic on colorectal cancer (CRC) patients at our center and aimed to share the lessons we learned with clinics currently experiencing this impact .
METHODS: We retrospectively collected data on CRC patients admitted between January 1 , 2020 and May 3 , 2020; the control group comprised patients admitted between January 1 , 2019 and May 3 , 2019 .
RESULTS: During the pandemic, outpatient volumes decreased significantly, especially those of nonlocal and elderly patients, whereas the number of patients who received chemotherapy and surgery remained the same . During the pandemic , 710 CRC patients underwent curative resection . The proportion of patients who received laparoscopic surgeries was 49.4%, significantly higher than the 39.5% during the same period in 2019 . The proportion of major complication during the pandemic was not significantly different from that of the control group . The mean hospital stay was significantly longer than that of the control group .
CONCLUSIONS: CRC patients confirmed to be infection-free can receive routine treatment . Using online medical counseling and appropriate identification, treatment and follow-up can be effectively maintained . Adjuvant and palliative chemotherapy should not be discontinued . Endoscopic polypectomy, elective, palliative, and multidisciplinary surgeries can be postponed, while curative surgery should proceed as usual . For elderly CRC patients, endoscopic surgery and neoadjuvant radiotherapy are recommended.