Impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic on cancer treatment: the patients' perspective

K. de Joode, D. W. Dumoulin, V. Engelen, H. J. Bloemendal, M. Verheij, H. W. M. van Laarhoven, I. H. Dingemans, A. C. Dingemans, A. A. M. van der Veldt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, has inevitable consequences for medical care of patients without COVID-19. To assess the impact of this pandemic on oncological care, a nationwide survey was conducted among patients with cancer in the Netherlands.

Methods: The patients' perspective on oncological care was investigated using an online survey between March 29th 2020 and April 18th 2020. The survey consisted of 20 questions on four topics: patients' characteristics, contact with the hospital, consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about COVID-19.

Results: Five thousand three hundred two patients with cancer completed this nationwide survey. Overall, 30% of patients reported consequences for their oncological treatment or follow-up. In the majority of cases, this resulted in conversion from hospital visit to consultation by phone or video. The most frequently adjusted treatments were chemotherapy (30%) and immunotherapy (32%). Among patients with delay and discontinuation of treatment, 55% and 63% of patients, respectively, were (very) concerned about these consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequences were independent of regional differences in COVID-19 incidence. However, patients in regions with high COVID-19 incidence were significantly more concerned.

Conclusion: This is the first study investigating perspectives of patients with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study demonstrates the significant impact of the COVID-19 crisis on oncological care, indicating the need for psycho-oncological support during this pandemic. (C) 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-139
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Cancer
  • Coronavirus
  • Pandemic
  • Patients' perspective


Dive into the research topics of 'Impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic on cancer treatment: the patients' perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this