Prior to the pandemic, death rates in some types cancer had started to stabilise or even decrease as patients increasingly took a more active role in their own care, while cancer services improved, and more treatments became available.1,2 The COVID-19 pandemic has partially or severely disrupted cancer care services globally3, possibly significantly impacting the prospect of early diagnosis and consequently, improved patient outcomes.
By the third quarter of 2020, cancer diagnoses have fallen by approximately 40%4-8 and are likely continuing to decline as the pandemic continues. Fear of contracting the virus at hospitals and clinics may have deterred patients from seeking medical attention for new symptoms or attending routine checks. Many patients with diagnosed cancer also discontinued treatment, due to a myriad of reasons, such as appointments being delayed, and screening being deprioritised in an overburdened healthcare system and to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.9,10 We cannot allow such setbacks in the remarkable progress that has been made against cancer in recent decades.
ICMR statistics reveal that 1,92,000 patients having failed a timely cancer diagnosis11 threatens to reverse the remarkable progress that has been made against cancer in recent decades.
To address the problem, AstraZeneca has launched New Normal, Same Cancer, a program that raises awareness regarding the impact of COVID-19 on cancer care and calls for patients to contact their doctor and return to cancer care services, including anyone who has paused treatment, missed routine checks or is experiencing symptoms that may be due to cancer.
Our call-to-action is clear: Don’t wait. Contact your doctor. Get checked.
These actions are critical because as we adapt to a new normal, cancer has remained the same and continues to be a global challenge.
We request your support to this campaign to help us create awareness regarding timely cancer diagnosis & care. Please let us know if you’re happy and available to support New Normal, Same Cancer and the action that we are calling for.
This campaign is not tumour-specific, and it is not linked to any of our products.
1. Hashim, D., Boffetta, P., La Vecchia, C., Rota, M., Bertuccio, P., Malvezzi, M. and Negri, E., 2016. The global decrease in cancer mortality: trends and disparities. Annals of Oncology, 27(5), pp.926-933.
2. Cancer.org. 2018. Facts & Figures 2018: Rate Of Deaths From Cancer Continues Decline. [online] Available at: https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/facts-and-figures-2018-rate-of-deaths-from-cancer-continues-decline.html [Accessed 2 October 2020].
3. Richards, M., Anderson, M., Carter, P. et al. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer care. Nat Cancer 1, 565–567 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43018-020-0074-y. Accessed September 2020.
4. De Vincentiis L, et al. Cancer diagnostic rates during the 2020 ‘lockdown’, due to COVID-19 pandemic, compared with the 2018–2019: an audit study from cellular pathology. Journal of Clinical Pathology Published Online First: 19 June 2020. doi: https://jcp.bmj.com/content/early/2020/06/19/jclinpath-2020-206833
5. Mahase, E., 2020. Covid-19: Urgent cancer referrals fall by 60%, showing “brutal” impact of pandemic. BMJ, p.m2386.
6. Maringe, C., et al., (2020). The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer deaths due to delays in diagnosis in England, UK: a national, population-based, modelling study. The Lancet Oncology, 21(8), pp.1023-1034.
7. England.nhs.uk. (2020). Statistics » Cancer Waiting Times. Available at: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/cancer-waiting-times/ [Accessed October 2020].
8. Kaufman, H., et al., (2020). Changes in the Number of US Patients With Newly Identified Cancer Before and During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic. JAMA Network Open, 3(8), p.e2017267.
9. Rosenbaum, L., et al., (2020). The Untold Toll — The Pandemic’s Effects on Patients without Covid-19. New England Journal of Medicine, 382(24), pp.2368-2371.
10. The Lancet Oncology, (2020). Safeguarding cancer care in a post-COVID-19 world. The Lancet Oncology, 21(5), p.603.
11. Globocan 2018: India factsheet. 2018; [online] Available at: http://cancerindia.org.in/globocan-2018-india-factsheet/ [Accessed Nov, 2020].
Document Number IN-5787 Approved for Distribution Date 23/11/2020
Expiration Date 23/11/2022