Less cancer screening in 2020 due to the pandemic: “About 5,000 fewer cases of cancer have been diagnosed in Belgium”

Nearly 5,000 cases of cancer have not been diagnosed in Belgium since the beginning of the epidemic. He is a wonderful character. The health crisis has also often “prevented” certain treatments, leading to “excessive deaths” in cancer patients. For professionals, it’s time to respond.

It is an intervention that cannot wait any longer. This patient has cancer. Before attacking the primary tumor, it must be removed from the metastasis to the liver. “It’s a metastasis that comes from colon cancer, which is limited. We’ve done a full examination showing that there is no other lesion”, Vincent Duncker, chief of surgery at the Burdett Institute, commented during an intervention.

The expected increase in deaths in the coming months and years

This is a serious issue. To avoid getting there, get the test done as soon as possible. But checks have been lower during the pandemic. “In 2020, nearly 5,000 types of cancer have been diagnosed in Belgium with the expected outcome of excess cancer-related deaths in the coming months and years. We will treat patients with more advanced tumors with less necessarily outcomes. Good”, Vincent Duncker continues.

We can expect a 15% increase in mortality among colorectal cancer patients, and 10% for breast cancer. To avoid these excess deaths in the future, Professor Duncker and three colleagues have called for a review of the order of priorities and emergencies among Covid patients and others. “We have to come up with comprehensive strategies. We must definitely include in the Covid treatment plan the anticipation of the consequences that this will have on other care.”

Staff shortage

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This process was urgent. But it was necessary to ensure that the patient could have a place in the intensive care unit when leaving the operating room. With a commitment to reserve 50% of beds for Covid patients, that’s another issue. “It is the whole balance of priorities which is how, what to reduce as surgical interventions as providers of intensive care patients, what to delay and what to delay and how much…”, insists chief of the department of surgery at the Burdett Institute.

Review the order of priorities, the status of essential or unnecessary interventions… and time and time again, reinvest in people. At the Jules Bordet Institute, only 4 out of 10 operating rooms are operating at the moment, due to a shortage of nursing staff.

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