The Enduring Effects of COVID for Cancer Care: Learning from Real-Life Clinical Practice

Clin Cancer Res. 2023 May 1;29(9):1670-1677. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-23-0151.


For three years, COVID-19 has circulated among our communities and around the world, fundamentally changing social interactions, health care systems, and service delivery. For people living with (and receiving treatment for) cancer, pandemic conditions presented significant additional hurdles in an already unstable and shifting environment, including disrupted personal contact with care providers, interrupted access to clinical trials, distanced therapeutic encounters, multiple immune vulnerabilities, and new forms of financial precarity. In a 2020 perspective in this journal, we examined how COVID-19 was reshaping cancer care in the early stages of the pandemic and how these changes might endure into the future. Three years later, and in light of a series of interviews with patients and their caregivers from the United States and Australia conducted during the pandemic, we return to consider the potential legacy effects of the pandemic on cancer care. While some challenges to care provision and survivorship were unforeseen, others accentuated and amplified existing problems experienced by patients, caregivers, and health care providers. Both are likely to have enduring effects in the "post-pandemic" world, raising the importance of focusing on lessons that can be learned for the future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Australia / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Pandemics