Background: Management of head and neck cancers (HNC) in radiation oncology in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) era is challenging. Aim of our work is to report organization strategies at a radiation therapy (RT) department in the first European area experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: We focused on (a) dedicated procedures for HNC, (b) RT scheduling, and (c) health care professionals' protection applied during the COVID-19 breakdown (from March 1, 2020 to April 30, 2020).
Results: Applied procedures are reported and discussed. Forty-three patients were treated. Image-guided, intensity modulated RT was performed in all cases. Median overall treatment time was 50 (interquartile range: 47-54.25) days. RT was interrupted/delayed in seven patients (16%) for suspected COVID-19 infection. Two health professionals managing HNC patients were proven as COVID-19 positive.
Conclusion: Adequate and well-timed organization allowed for the optimization of HNC patients balancing at the best of our possibilities patients' care and personnel's safety.
Keywords: COVID-19; departmental procedures; head and neck cancer; health care protections; radiation oncology.
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