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27-07-2020 | Breast cancer | News

News in brief

Guidance proposed for managing breast cancer during COVID-19

Author: Shreeya Nanda


medwireNews: A stage- and subtype-specific approach for the management of breast cancer during the COVID-19 outbreak has been published in JCO Oncology Practice.

These algorithms – developed as part of the John Hopkins Women’s Malignancies Program – build on preliminary recommendations from the COVID-19 Pandemic Breast Cancer Consortium, taking into account “tumor biology and extent of disease” to help optimize breast cancer management, explain Karen Smith (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA) and co-authors.

They set out guidance for surgery, radiation, and systemic therapy by stage (ductal carcinoma in situ, early-stage invasive, and metastatic) and subtype (triple negative, HER2 positive, and hormone receptor positive).

The authors recommend extending intervals for routine monitoring to reduce the risk for SARS-CoV-2 transmission and modifying treatments (including steroid use) to reduce immunosuppression, and they also outline situations in which to prioritize in-person visits over telemedicine.

“[D]uring the COVID-19 pandemic, delivering breast cancer care necessitates balancing risks associated with delay or pursuit of less-aggressive cancer therapy with risks of COVID-19 exposure and infection in limited-resource environments and with much uncertainty,” writes the team.

And Smith et al conclude: “Guidelines such as these will be important as we continue to balance treatment of breast cancer against risk of SARS-CoV-2 exposure and infection until approval of a vaccine.”

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare. © 2020 Springer Healthcare part of the Springer Nature Group

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JCO Oncol Pract 2020; doi:10.1200/OP.20.00364