Introduction: Globally, Brazil has the third highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and the second highest number of deaths related to COVID-19 at the time of writing. Maintaining cancer care has been a challenge for patient safety and for the physical and mental health of oncology nurses.
Objectives: To describe which effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer care could already be evaluated and to identify the psychosocial impact on cancer nurses in Brazil.
Method: Reflective, analytical, qualitative study.
Results: Although the Brazilian cancer care policy has reached important achievements in overcoming access barriers to cancer diagnosis and treatment over the past decade, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused losses of timely access to health services for patients with cancer, which has compromised screening, early diagnosis and treatment, and patient follow-up. Oncology nurses have actively participated in the management and assistance strategies during the pandemic. This path has generated an increase in oncology nurses’ workload, leading to physical and mental stress and anxiety related to the fear of contagion for themselves and their family.
Conclusion: The pandemic has affected the care of cancer patients, with the potential to suffer greater losses because of reductions in screening, early diagnosis and treatment, and patient follow-up. In addition to the worsening of the cancer setting, the COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmed Brazilian oncology nurses, physically and mentally.