Lung cancer recovery focus post pandemic: an income-deprived area paradigm

Clin Med (Lond). 2023 Jan;23(1):38-44. doi: 10.7861/clinmed.2022-0201.


'Stage shift' has been proposed as a marker of impact of Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) in lung cancer services; however, there are no data available specifically from income-deprived areas. Thus, this study evaluated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on lung cancer care in our area (Corby; among the most income deprived in England) and identified focus recovery areas. The study was a retrospective observational study of 668 consecutive patients with lung cancer at a district general hospital, pre-, during and after the COVID peak. Outcomes were the overall number of cases, presenting staging and treatment pathway. Overall, 32 fewer patients were diagnosed during the pandemic, with more inpatient diagnoses (p=0.01) and fewer primary care referrals (p<0.0001). There were no differences observed in treatment intent or 'stage shift'. Our results suggest that COVID-19 negatively affected the whole lung cancer pathway in our area. However, 'stage shift' might not be ideal to assess the impact of COVID-19 in income-deprived areas. Further studies will help the strategic rollout of a screening programme to identify patients with lung cancer earlier on in such areas.

Keywords: COVID-19; income deprivation; lung cancer.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • England / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Pandemics
  • Retrospective Studies