Impact of the coronavirus disease pandemic on cancer care in Croatia: a multicentre cross-sectional study

7 Jul 2021
Renata Kelemenic-Drazin, Anuska Budisavljevic, Natalija Dedic Plavetic, Iva Kardum Fucak, Tajana Silovski, Vesna Telesmanic Dobric, Mario Nalbani, Zvonimir Curic, Zvjezdana Boric-Mikez, Tatjana Ladenhauser, Dragan Trivanovic, Zeljko Vojnovic, Ilijan Tomas, Stjepko Plestina

Purpose: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has greatly affected the oncology community worldwide. Lockdowns, an epidemiological measure, have made it difficult for oncologists to provide care. In this study, we analysed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Croatian cancer care.

Methods: This was a multicentre cross-sectional observational study of 422 patients who received systemic oncology therapy during the pandemic. The patients completed a survey to capture their views on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their cancer care. Univariate descriptive and bivariate analyses were performed to analyse the relationship between the patients’ perspective on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer care and the quality of Croatian cancer care and their clinical and sociodemographic data.

Results: Discontinuation or change in cancer treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic was observed in 10.2% of cases. Most did not change their place of treatment owing to the lockdown (97.6%). 14.7% of the patients felt that the quality of cancer care received had changed during the pandemic.

Conclusions: In the first few months of the pandemic, Croatia had a favourable epidemiological situation. However, 25% of patients with cancer reported that the pandemic affected cancer treatment and the quality of cancer care.

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