Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on eye cancer care in United Kingdom
Wang H., Elsheikh M., Gilmour K., Cohen V., Sagoo MS., Damato B., Anguita R., Heimann H., Hussain R., Cauchi P., Chadha V., Connolly J., Rundle P., Salvi SM.
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Cancer Research UK. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the National Health Service in United Kingdom. The UK Ocular Oncology Services evaluated the impact on the adult eye cancer care in the UK. All four adult Ocular Oncology centres participated in a multicentre retrospective review comparing uveal melanoma referral patterns and treatments in a 4-month period during the national lockdown and first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 with corresponding periods in previous 2 years. During the national lockdown, referral numbers and confirmed uveal melanoma cases reduced considerably, equalling to ~120 fewer diagnosed uveal melanoma cases compared to previous 2 years. Contrary to the recent trend, increased caseloads of enucleation and stereotactic radiosurgery (p > 0.05), in comparison to fewer proton beam therapy (p < 0.05), were performed. In the 4-month period following lockdown, there was a surge in clinical activities with more advanced diseases (p < 0.05) presenting to the services. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to mount pressure and reveal its hidden impact on the eye cancer care, it is imperative for the Ocular Oncology Services to plan recovery strategies and innovative ways of working.