By Clarissa Mathias, MD
Cancer care faces the most challenging time since the COVID-19 pandemic has postponed, worldwide, early diagnoses and prevention and confronted doctors with advanced diseases and patients with low chances to be cured.
Oncologists' and medical societies’ engagement to create awareness of cancer care has rapidly increased and, more than ever, together, all of our actions matter: actions like creating a safe environment to re-establish screening and early diagnosis, ensuring safety measures to allow surgical procedures, reinforcing and encouraging healthy lifestyles, and assuring safe oncology treatment routes.
As individuals, every little action toward creating a cancer-free world matters. We need to reinforce the importance of prevention, such as weight control, exercise, smoking cessation, and avoiding excessive sun exposure. We need to build a chain of examples and responsibility. We need to focus our collective efforts to ensure that preventive measures, including vaccination against hepatitis and human papillomaviruses (HPV), will happen.
As president of the Brazilian Society of Clinical Oncology, my colleagues and I launched a National Awareness Campaign calling attention to the fact that cancer diagnosis must be pursued despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Our actions included launching guidelines for cancer treatment during this challenging period, creating a mental health program for oncologists, and participating in the Word Health Organization Campaign recommending the HPV vaccination.
Dr. Mathias is the chair of ASCO’s International Affairs Committee and president of the Brazilian Society of Clinical Oncology. Disclosure.
Resources from ASCO
- American Society of Clinical Oncology Road to Recovery Report: Learning From the COVID-19 Experience to Improve Clinical Research and Cancer Care
- COVID-19 Impact and Perspectives from the International Affairs Committee
- Delivering Cancer Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Recommendations and Lessons Learned From ASCO Global Webinars