Lung Cancer and the COVID-19 pandemic: Recommendations from the Brazilian Thoracic Oncology Group
Keywords:Coronavirus, SARS-CoV, Lung Cancer
New cases of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), also known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), continue to rise worldwide following the declaration of a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). The current pandemic has completely altered the workflow of health services worldwide. However, even during this critical period, patients with other diseases, like cancer, need to be properly treated. A few reports have shown that mortality due to SARS-CoV-2 is higher in elderly patients and those with other active comorbidities, including cancer. Patients with lung cancer are at risk of pulmonary complications from COVID-19, and as such, the risk/benefit ratio of local and systemic anticancer treatment has to be considered. For each patient, several factors, including age, comorbidities, and immunosuppression, as well as the number of hospital visits for treatment, can influence this risk. The number of cases is rising exponentially in Brazil, and it is important to consider the local characteristics when approaching the pandemic. In this regard, the Brazilian Thoracic Oncology Group has developed recommendations to guide decisions in lung cancer treatment during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Due to the scarcity of relevant data, discussions based on disease stage, evaluation of surgical treatment, radiotherapy techniques, systemic therapy, follow-up, and supportive care were carried out, and specific suggestions issued. All recommendations seek to reduce contagion risk by decreasing the number of medical visits and hospitalization, and in the case of immunosuppression, by adapting treatment schemes when possible. This statement should be adjusted according to the reality of each service, and can be revised as new data become available.