Barcelona. August 6, 2020.- Published ahead of print as an open access as Special Article* in Annals of Oncology, the flagship journal of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), an expert consensus paper, elaborated by an especially established international consortium, tackles important questions regarding cancer care, disease management, and treatment strategies during Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Reporting a set of clinical recommendations spanning diagnosis to surgery on behalf of all Voting Panel members, renowned international trailblazers in oncology, including corresponding author Giuseppe Curigliano (Italy), Co-Chair of ESMO’s Guidelines Committee, and VHIO’s Director and Past-President of ESMO, Josep Tabernero, the overarching ‘take-home’ rings loud and clear: cancer treatment impacting overall survival cannot discontinue or be delayed during the current COVID-19 era.

Counting on an interdisciplinary expert panel, this timely ESMO-led initiative developed a set of 28 clinical statements in consensus to guide healthcare professionals and assist them to overcome many of the clinical and technical obstacles related to diagnosis, risk assessment, response assessment, surgical planning, radiation therapy and medical treatment during these challenging times.

As the global scientific community begins to unravel the biological complexities of the COVID-19 virus, the authors respond to the critical clinical questions regarding which cancer patients are actually at high risk of COVID-19 and its consequences.

Commenting for VHIO’s Global Communications, our Director and co-author of this present paper, Josep Tabernero, said, “Instead of grouping all cancer patients as COVID-19 vulnerable, individualized risk must be more precisely gauged based on patients’ particular specificities including tumor type, stage, age and gender.”

He continued, “Our reporting of comprehensive recommendations aimed at guiding out multidisciplinary oncology teams represents a valuable tool as we collectively strive to provide optimal cancer treatment and care while navigating these turbulent and uncertain COVID-19 times.”

Moving forward, this important ESMO undertaking will serve as a dynamic knowledge hub by incorporating new insights into both SARS CoV-2 biology and COVID-19 disease characteristics as they continue to emerge.

“This finger on the pulse, real-time approach will better guide medical oncologists and multidisciplinary teams on treatment decision making and provide individual patients with optimal, individualized cancer care in the face of this terrible virus,” concluded Josep Tabernero who is also Head of the Medical Oncology Department, Vall d’Hebron University Hospital – HUVH (Vall d’Hebron Barcelona Hospital Campus).

To access ESMO’s comprehensive set of recommendations addressing just some of the many questions regarding the management of cancer care during COVID-19 pandemics visit here

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Reference:

Curigliano G, Banerjee S, Cervantes A, Garassino M, Garrido P, Girard N, Haanen J, Jordan K, Lordick F, Machiels JP, Michielin O, Peters S, Tabernero J, Douillard JY, Pentheroudakis G, on behalf of all Voting Panel members, Managing cancer patients during the COVID-19 pandemic: An ESMO Interdisciplinary Expert Consensus Annals of Oncology (2020), doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annonc.2020.07.010.