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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer care in the public health subsector, province of Santa Fe, Argentina

26 Jul 2021
Graciela Lopez de Degani, Leandro Duarte, Julia Ismael, Laura Martinez, Florencia López

Introduction: The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 pandemic coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the measures taken to lessen its impact have had side effects affecting timely care of other diseases. The aim of this paper is to quantify the impact of the pandemic on the cancer care line in the province of Santa Fe, Argentina.

Method: It is an observational cross-sectional study comparing the impact on selected variables of the pre-pandemic and intra-pandemic periods. The formula of percentage variation was used to show the differences. The positivity index was calculated and expressed as a percentage. The proportions of both periods were compared through the chi-squared test and its p-value.

Results: Reductions were observed in all the variables under study. However, the deeper impact was evident in screening, with 56%–87% decreases in the number of procedures carried out. A 26% reduction was seen in diagnosis. Treatment was the variable with the least impact, with a 3% decrease.

Discussion: COVID-19 as well as the measures taken to reduce its impact caused alterations in the cancer care line in the province, with clear differences according to the variable under study. Measures related to cancer screening were displaced, prioritising the care of patients already diagnosed and treated.

Conclusion: Considering the new increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, it is essential to adapt the healthcare system, and design new innovative strategies to reduce long-term consequences.

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