An outbreak of oncological diseases is predicted by experts. The situation is explained by Mark Lawlor, an oncology specialist at Queens University in Belfast.
In the long fight against the coronavirus, all other problems have receded into the background. The European Cancer Organization and the institutions of Brussels warn about the problem of no less dangerous disease. Restrictions on routine and planned visits to the doctor, lack of checks have reduced control over the health of citizens. Many of them, after quarantine, may face an untimely tumor detection. In addition, according to researchers, approximately 15-20% of cancerous tumors arise from viruses and bacteria. How the coronavirus affects this process, scientists have yet to find out. Mark Lawlor says:
Unfortunately, we have disturbing data. It is estimated that around a million cancers appeared, but were not diagnosed throughout Europe during the pandemic. During this time, potential patients had to pass, but did not pass, about a million screening tests. As a result, the diagnosis was delayed for many months. If cancer is detected at a later stage, it is much more difficult to treat and there is a much greater risk of people dying from the disease. We also found that one in five cancer patients in Europe still does not receive the required surgical or chemotherapy treatment.
It is no secret that national health systems have sought to cope with the pandemic as successfully as possible, and therefore many oncology research, analysis and clinical trials had to be suspended. The consequences of such a step can turn into a surge in cancer. Veronica Trillet-Lenoir, a liberal French politician, notes:
Cancer patients are especially vulnerable during this pandemic. Their bodies, weakened by cancer, are less tolerant of Covid. In addition, during the lockdown, they do not have the previous opportunity to come to the hospital for diagnosis and treatment. The EU should better protect patients with cancer and chronic diseases in the future if a crisis like the current one recurs. We need to properly assess the impact of Covid-19 on these types of diseases. The first priority is to vaccinate cancer patients who are particularly vulnerable.
The first steps in this direction are already being taken. Brussels recommended switching medical resources reserved for the case of a new outbreak of Covid-19 to the treatment of cancer and their detection.