Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Colorectal Cancer Care in the Netherlands: A Population-based Study

Joyce Meijer, Marloes A G Elferink, Jolanda C van Hoeve, Jeroen Buijsen, Felice van Erning, Iris D Nagtegaal, Pieter J Tanis, Geraldine R Vink, Miriam L Wumkes, Ignace H J T de Hingh, Sabine Siesling*, COVID-and-Cancer-NL Consortium

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Web of Science)


INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted health care services worldwide. In the Netherlands, the first confirmed COVID-19 infection was on February 27, 2020. We aimed to investigate the impact of the pandemic on colorectal cancer care in the Netherlands.

METHODS: Colorectal cancer patients who were diagnosed in 25 hospitals in weeks 2 to 26 of the year 2020 were selected from the Netherlands Cancer Registry (NCR) and divided in 4 periods. The average number of patients treated per type of initial treatment was analyzed by the Mantel-Haenszel test adjusted for age. Median time between diagnosis and treatment and between (neo)adjuvant therapy and surgery were analyzed by the Mann Whitney test. Percentages of (acute) resection, stoma and (neo)adjuvant therapy were compared using the Chi-squared test.

RESULTS: In total, 1,653 patients were included. The patient population changed during the COVID-19 pandemic regarding higher stage and more clinical presentation with ileus at time of diagnosis. Slight changes were found regarding type of initial treatment. Median time between diagnosis and treatment decreased on average by 4.5 days during the pandemic. The proportion of colon cancer patients receiving a stoma significantly increased with 6.5% during the pandemic. No differences were found in resection rate and treatment with (neo)adjuvant therapy.

CONCLUSION: Despite the disruptive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global health care, the impact on colorectal cancer care in the Netherlands was limited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E171-E178
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Colorectal Cancer
Issue number3
Early online date3 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022

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