Prof Eva Segelov speaks to ecancer about the way that Australia has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and how this has impacted cancer care in the country compared to other regions of the world.
She explains that Australia started preparing for the pandemic early, and this early response has benefitted the country greatly. She outlines the approach that the country has taken, going into detail on guidelines for healthcare professionals and oncologists, and reports that to date there have only been 72 recorded deaths due to the virus (24th April 2020). However, she does make sure to note that this approach may mean that there may be a prolonged duration of measures in place and that there are still considerations to be made when it comes to the management of cancer patients. While other countries can learn from this approach, she also stresses that they have learned from other countries that the situation can change very rapidly, and she has particular concerns about the virus reaching the indigenous or remote communities across the country.
Prof Segelov discusses how cancer care, cancer detection rates, clinical trials and general healthcare in Australia have been impacted so far, as well as the potential lasting changes that may result from the pandemic.
She concludes by giving her advice for other oncologists in Australia on managing their patients during the pandemic and her advice on how to manage their own stress at this time. Prof Segelov observes that it may be some time before Australian oncologists can attend conferences again, so it is important to stay connected with the global oncology community.