When you get a cancer diagnosis, usually you get treated right away. You don’t expect a pandemic to happen which throws normal- or even normal for cancer- out the window. However, many oncologists and cancer patients are facing this reality every day. Should I get treatment and potentially risk contracting COVID-19 or should I delay treatment and hope the cancer doesn’t progress?
Due to hospital constraints and patient safety concerns, some clinicians are opting to delay their patient’s cancer treatment. These delays may be several months long. However, delaying cancer treatment carries its own risks. For aggressive cancer, the disease may progress during the treatment delay. To address these conflicting problems, we built an app that estimates survival for both immediate treatment and delaying treatment.
We gathered data from across the globe about COVID-19 and compiled it with specific county level data to estimate a person’s individual risk for contracting COVID-19. Using an individual patient’s data to estimate risk, we estimate survival for both immediate and delayed treatment in a pre-COVID-19 era using national cancer data. Combining both the COVID-19 risk and the cancer risk, our end product is a personalized overall survival estimate for the patient.
We hope that this app will help clinicians and patients balance the risks of COVID-19 and the patient’s cancer.
The app can be found here: http://onccovid.med.umich.edu/