Publication date: Jul 10, 2023
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has reduced diagnosed cancer cases worldwide. This study aimed to elucidate the recovery of cancer care from the COVID-19 pandemic in Ehime Prefecture, Japan. This study collected data from the hospital-based cancer registry (HBCR) as well as the number of outpatients, medical information provision fee payments (MIP2) and second opinion patients (SOP) from the Council of Ehime Cancer Care Hospitals (ECCH). Then cancer care and patient requests for hospital transfers before and during the COVID-19 pandemic were analysed. The HBCR from the ECCH comprises >80% of cancer cases in Ehime Prefecture. In 2020, the numbers of all registered cases, first-line treatment cases and cases detected by cancer screening in the HBCR decreased from those in 2018-2019. In 2021, they increased to almost the same levels as those in 2020. In contrast, the number of registered patients that changed hospitals (hospital-change cases) after first-line treatments, patients who lived outside the metropolitan area of Ehime but registered in metropolitan hospitals, MIP2 and SOP remained low in 2021 after decreasing in 2020. Furthermore, the monthly numbers of hospital-change cases, MIP2 and SOP were significantly smaller in 2021 than in 2018-2019 (Wilcoxon rank sum test). The assessed indicators suggest that the decreased patients’ behavior to further cancer care had not returned to pre-pandemic levels by 2021. Hence, psychological measures in society to prevent self-restraint in patients and support for the caregivers of the patients who have some problems visiting the hospital are necessary.
|Japan||hospital-based cancer registry|