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Management of patients with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic: The Italian perspective on the second wave

  • Indini, Alice1
  • Pinotti, Graziella2
  • Artioli, Fabrizio3
  • Aschele, Carlo4
  • Bernardi, Daniele5
  • Butera, Alfredo6
  • Defraia, Efisio7
  • Fasola, Gianpiero8
  • Gamucci, Teresa9
  • Giordano, Monica10
  • Iaria, Antonino11
  • Leo, Silvana12
  • Ribecco, Angela S.13
  • Rossetti, Riccardo14
  • Savastano, Clementina15
  • Schena, Marina16
  • Silva, Rosa R.17
  • Grossi, Francesco1
  • Blasi, Livio18
  • 1 Medical Oncology Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy
  • 2 Medical Oncology Department, ASST Sette Laghi, Varese, Italy
  • 3 Ospedale Ramazzini, AUSL Modena, Carpi, Italy
  • 4 Medical Oncology Department, Ospedale Sant'Andrea, La Spezia, Italy
  • 5 Medical Oncology, San Donà Hospital, San Donà di Piave, Italy
  • 6 Medical Oncology Unit, Ospedale San Giovanni di Dio, Agrigento, Italy
  • 7 Medical Oncology, Businco Hospital, Cagliari, Italy
  • 8 Department of Oncology, University Hospital of Udine, Udine, Italy
  • 9 Medical Oncology, Sandro Pertini Hospital, Rome, Italy
  • 10 Medical Oncology Division, ASST-Lariana, Como, Italy
  • 11 Oncology Unit, Azienda Sanitaria Provinciale, Presidio Ospedaliero Melito Porto Salvo, Reggio Calabria, Italy
  • 12 Department of Medical Oncology, Vito Fazzi Hospital, Lecce, Italy
  • 13 Medical Oncology, S. Giovanni di Dio Hospital, Firenze, Italy
  • 14 Medical Oncology and Palliative Care Unit, Pantalla Hospital, Todi, Italy
  • 15 Medical Oncology Unit, San Giovanni di Dio e Ruggi d'Aragona, Salerno, Italy
  • 16 Medical Oncology, Azienda AUSL, Regional Hospital of Aosta, Aosta, Italy
  • 17 Medical Oncology, ASUR Marche, Area Vasta 2, Fabriano, Italy
  • 18 Medical Oncology Unit, ARNAS Civico, Palermo, Italy
Published Article
European journal of cancer (Oxford, England : 1990)
Publication Date
Feb 25, 2021
DOI: 10.1016/j.ejca.2021.01.040
PMID: 33743478
PMCID: PMC7904514
PubMed Central
  • Original Research


The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been an overwhelming challenge for worldwide health systems. Since the beginning of year 2020, COVID-19 has represented a potential harm for cancer patients and has often hindered oncology care. The Collegio Italiano dei Primari Oncologi Medici (CIPOMO) is an Italian association of head physicians in oncology departments, which promotes working and research activities in oncology on a national basis. During the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic, the CIPOMO promoted a national survey aiming to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on oncologists' clinical activity and what changes have been made compared with the Italian situation during the first wave of the pandemic. Overall, 138 heads of medical oncology departments participated in this survey: 75 (54%) from the North, 24 (17%) from the Centre and 39 (28%) from the South of Italy and islands. This survey provides an overview of Italian oncologists facing the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic. The lesson learned during the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic has led to a better organisation of clinical activities, and regular testing among healthcare practitioners, with better chances to grant patients' protection. However, the lack of standardised informatic platforms results in serious challenges in replacing frontal visits, often making a concrete reduction of patients' hospital accesses unfeasible. Oncologists need to keep preserving the continuum of care of patients. Standardisation of safety measures, together with the implementation of informatic platforms, can significantly improve oncology pathways during this second wave of COVID-19 pandemic.

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