The COVID-19 outbreak has affected care for non-COVID diseases like cancer. We evaluated the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on prostate cancer care in the Netherlands.
Prostate cancer diagnoses per month in 2020-2021 versus 2018-2019 were compared based on preliminary data of the Netherlands Cancer Registry (NCR) and nationwide pathology network. Detailed data was retrieved from the NCR for the cohorts diagnosed from March-May 2020 (first COVID-19 wave) and March-May 2018-2019 (reference). Changes in number of diagnoses, age, disease stage and first-line treatment were compared.
An initial decline of 17% in prostate cancer diagnoses during the first COVID-19 wave was observed. From May onwards the number of diagnoses started to restore to approximately 95% of the expected number by the end of 2020. Stage at diagnosis remainedstable over time. In low-risk localised prostate cancer radical prostatectomy was conducted more often in week 9-12 (21% versus 12% in the reference period; OR=1.9, 95% CI; 1.2-3.1) and less active surveillance was applied (67% versus 78%; OR=0.6, 95% CI; 0.4-0.9). In the intermediate-risk group, a similar change was observed in week 13-16. Radical prostatectomy volumes in 2020 were comparable to 2018-2019.
During the first COVID-19 wave the number of prostate cancer diagnoses declined. In the second half of 2020 this largely restored although the number remained lower than expected. Changes in treatment were temporary and compliant with adapted guidelines. Although delayed diagnoses could result in a less favourable stage distribution, possibly affecting survival, this seems not very likely.
Cancer treatment and research communications. 2022 Apr 02 [Epub ahead of print]
Désirée van Deukeren, Berdine L Heesterman, Lianne Roelofs, Lambertus A Kiemeney, J Alfred Witjes, Tineke J Smilde, Geert J L H van Leenders, Luca Incrocci, Ben G L Vanneste, Richard P Meijer, Sabine Siesling, Bart P J van Bezooijen, Katja K H Aben, COVID and Cancer-NL consortium
Emergency Department, Isala Hospital, Zwolle, AB 8025 Netherlands., Netherlands Comprehensive Cancer Organisation (IKNL), Utrecht, DT 3511 Netherlands., Radboud Institute for Health Sciences, Radboud university medical centre, Nijmegen, GA 6525 Netherlands., Department of Urology, Radboud university medical centre, 6525 GA Nijmegen, the Netherlands., Department of Medical Oncology, Jeroen Bosch Hospital, GZ 's-Hertogenbosch, 5223 Netherlands., Department of Pathology, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, GD 3015 Netherlands., Department of Radiotherapy, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, GD 3015 Netherlands., Department of Radiation Oncology, MAASTRO-clinic, Maastricht, ET 6229 Netherlands., Department of Oncological Urology, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, CX 3584 Netherlands., Netherlands Comprehensive Cancer Organisation (IKNL), Utrecht, DT 3511 Netherlands; Department of Health Technology and Services Research, Technical Medical Centre, University of Twente, Enschede, NB 7522 Netherlands., Department of Urology, Meander Medical Centre, Amersfoort, TZ 3813 Netherlands., Netherlands Comprehensive Cancer Organisation (IKNL), Utrecht, DT 3511 Netherlands; Radboud Institute for Health Sciences, Radboud university medical centre, Nijmegen, GA 6525 Netherlands. Electronic address: .