Impact of COVID-19 on gastric cancer treatment in Japanese high-volume centers: a JCOG stomach cancer study group survey

Surg Today. 2022 Feb;52(2):231-238. doi: 10.1007/s00595-021-02329-y. Epub 2021 Jul 20.


Purposes: The spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has affected socioeconomic and healthcare systems in many countries. Accordingly, many individuals may have canceled their annual health-check programs, including esophagogastroduodenoscopy, which would have resulted in lower numbers of newly diagnosed patients with gastric cancer in comparison to other times.

Methods: Questionnaires were distributed to 62 hospitals every week from May 2020 to August 2020 (total 744) through mailing lists of the Stomach Cancer Study Group of the Japan Clinical Oncology Group. The number of patients with gastric cancer and hospital systems during the COVID-19 pandemic were surveyed.

Results: In total, 74% (551 out of 744) of the questionnaires were answered and analyzed. In early May, approximately 50% of hospitals had to restrict surgical slots due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they gradually loosened the restrictions thereafter. The number of gastrectomies was < 80% that of the same period in the previous year, and hospitals in Tokyo were seriously affected by a 50% decrease in the number of gastrectomies.

Conclusions: The number of gastrectomies was lower than that in the previous year. Further multi-center follow-up studies are required to evaluate the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the clinical outcomes of patients with gastric cancer.

Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; Gastrectomy; Socioeconomic factors; Stomach neoplasms.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control
  • COVID-19 / transmission
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Endoscopy, Digestive System / statistics & numerical data
  • Facilities and Services Utilization
  • Gastrectomy / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitals, High-Volume / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / organization & administration*
  • Japan
  • Procedures and Techniques Utilization
  • Stomach Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Stomach Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires