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Short Communication

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on work routine, practice and mental state of radiation oncologists in India: an online survey

7 Jan 2021
Vinodh Kumar Selvaraj, Deleep Kumar Gudipudi

Background and purpose: COVID-19 has affected the lives of every medical professional including oncologists. The goal of this survey was to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on the work routine, psychological state and radiotherapy practice of radiation oncologists.

Materials and methods: An anonymous survey consisting of 23 questions regarding the lives of radiation oncologists during the COVID-19 pandemic was distributed online via social media from July 14 to July 21, 2020. Statistical analysis was performed with Statistical Package for the Social Sciences 18.0 software and basic descriptive statistics were applied.

Results: A total of 82 radiation oncologists responded to the survey. The majority were professors (28/82; 34.1%) and residents (28/82; 34.1%) and <50 years old (70/82; 85.4%). Cancer screening programs (57/62; 91.9%) and number of new cases reduced (44/82; 53.7%) in many institutes. Follow-up was still done in-person by 73.2% respondents. 35/82 (42.7%) respondents were satisfied about their safety during COVID-19, at the same time 36/82 (43.9%) were worried about the patient’s safety. The fear of contracting COVID-19 (57/82; 69.5%) and infecting their families (64/82; 78%) was high. Physical presence during case implementation (59/82; 72%) and daily setup verification (60/82; 73.2%) remained the same during COVID-19. Half of the respondents adopted new fractionation schedules, commonly in breast and palliative cases. Time spent on research had reduced by 62.2%. Only 41.4% respondents were satisfied with the patient care provided by them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Conclusion: COVID-19 has significantly altered the work routine, radiotherapy practice and mental state of radiation oncologists.

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