Restricted access and advanced disease in post-pandemic testicular cancer.

Urologists observed reduced cancer consultations and surgeries during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, raising concern about treatment delays. Testicular cancer serves as a particularly sensitive marker of this phenomenon, as the clinical stage of testicular cancer at presentation is predictive of cancer-specific survival. We aimed to investigate whether COVID-related restrictions to primary care access resulted in increased incidence of metastatic germ cell testis cancer.

A retrospective chart review was conducted on all cases of testicular cancer managed surgically at our center from March 1, 2018, to February 28, 2023. Patients were categorized into temporal cohorts, representing before, during, and following the implementation of COVID-19 public health restrictions in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Forty-one cases of testicular germ cell tumors were identified during the study period. The mean age at diagnosis was 40.8 years (standard deviation ±13.7). Demographics did not vary across the cohorts. Clinical stage 3 disease remained stable before and during the pandemic at 10.5% and 9.1% of cases, respectively. In the post-pandemic period, there was an increase to 27.3% (p=0.617). Surgical wait times remained stable across the pandemic (p=0.151).

There was a 16.8% rise in clinical stage III disease from the pre-pandemic to post-pandemic period. Our study failed to identify a statistically significant increase in metastatic testis cancer incidence upon lifting of pandemic restrictions. Further study is necessary to confirm suspicions that pandemic restrictions contributed to increased incidence of metastatic testis cancer.

Canadian Urological Association journal = Journal de l'Association des urologues du Canada. 2024 Apr 02 [Epub ahead of print]

Mitchell Fagan, W C Ian Janes, Matthew Andrews, David R Harvey, Geoff M Warden, Michael K Organ, Paul Johnston

Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University, St. John's, NL, Canada., Department of Urology, Memorial University, St. John's, NL, Canada., Discipline of Anesthesia, Memorial University, St. John's, NL, Canada.