THURSDAY, April 16, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- In guidance issued by the COVID-19 Pandemic Breast Cancer Consortium, recently accepted for publication in an upcoming issue of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, recommendations are presented for prioritizing care for breast cancer patients during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Jill R. Dietz, M.D., from the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers in Chicago, and colleagues used expert opinion of representatives from multiple cancer care organizations to categorize breast cancer patients into priority levels (A, B, and C) for urgency of care across all specialties during the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors provide treatment recommendations for each of these priority levels.
The researchers note that priority A patients have conditions that are immediately life-threatening or symptomatic and require urgent treatment; priority B patients have conditions that do not require immediate treatment, but treatment should be initiated before the pandemic is over; and priority C patients have conditions for which treatment can be safely delayed until the end of the pandemic. The implications of these recommendations for patient triage should be adapted to current availability of hospital resources and to the severity of COVID-19 in each region. The risk for disease progression and outcomes should be weighed with the risk for exposure of patients and staff to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2.
"As the pandemic rapidly evolves, we are increasingly learning about viral transmission and its impact on the health system, thus, these recommendations will evolve over time with continued updates," the authors write.