DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.18203/2349-2902.isj20220938
Published: 2022-03-28

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on physicians managing breast cancer patients in Saudi Arabia

Sahar M. Alnefaie, Ghaida H. Alotaibi, Nada E. Algethami, Raghad S. Z. Aljunaid, Israa H. Alnemari, Raghad S. S. Aljuaid, Khairiah Y. Alqashqari

Abstract


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the health-care system worldwide, and physicians face challenges in clinical practice, especially in managing cancer patients. This study aimed to assess the impact of COVID-19 on physicians managing breast cancer patients in Saudi Arabia.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted from May to October 2020 among physicians practicing in Saudi Arabia, using an online-based survey. The questionnaire included items on physicians’ sociodemographic, barriers faced with breast cancer patients, concerns about and satisfaction with breast cancer patients’ management, and treatment protocols they follow.

Results: A total of 317 physicians participated in this study. Most of them faced difficulties in their work with breast cancer patients during this pandemic, and 77.3% reported that they diagnosed at least one breast cancer case. Many patients missed chemotherapy sessions, and half of the centres indicated that more than 10% of their patients missed at least one session. 83% of the physicians were satisfied with the way they managed breast cancer patients, and 73% follow a specific protocol in managing breast cancer patients.

Conclusions: The study’s findings show that the active COVID-19 pandemic led to a more stressful situation among physicians, which has affected management of breast cancer patients. COVID-19 is reshaping the delivery of not only breast cancer care but also general oncology practice. Currently, due to the availability of effective vaccination and more understanding of COVID-19, we believe that breast cancer operations should be performed on their scheduled date.


Keywords


Breast, Cancer, COVID-19, Surgery, Saudi

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