The recent novel coronavirus, named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has developed into an international pandemic affecting millions of individuals with hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide. The highly infectious nature and widespread prevalence of this disease create a new set of obstacles for the bladder cancer community in both delivering and receiving care. In this manuscript, we address the unique issues regarding treatment prioritization for the patient with bladder cancer and how we at City of Hope have adjusted our clinical practices using a team-based approach that utilizes shared decision making with all stakeholders (physicians, patients, caregivers) to optimize outcomes during this difficult time. In addition to taking standard precautions for minimizing COVID-19 risk of exposure for those entering a healthcare facility (screening all personnel upon entry and donning facemasks at all times), we suggest the following three measures: (1) delay post-treatment surveillance visits until there is a decrease in local COVID-19 cases, (2) continue curative intent treatments for localized bladder cancer with COVID-19 precautions (i.e., choosing gemcitabine/cisplatin (GC) over dose-dense methotrexate, vinblastine, doxorubicin, cisplatin (ddMVAC) neoadjuvant chemotherapy), and (3) increase the off-treatment period between cycles of palliative systemic therapy in metastatic urothelial carcinoma patients.
Keywords: COVID-19; bladder cancer; team-based medicine; urothelial carcinoma.