SARS-CoV-2 pandemic: implications in the management of patients with colorectal cancer

Colorectal Cancer

New Microbiol. 2020 Sep 4;43(4). Online ahead of print.


The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has already reached 3,207,248 patients with more than 225,000 deaths all over the world. Colorectal cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer worldwide, and the healthcare system is struggling to manage daily activities for elective cancer surgery. This review integrates clinical, microbiological, architectural and surgical aspects to develop indications on strategies to manage colorectal cancer patients and ensure safety during the pandemic. Telephone or virtual clinics

must be encouraged and phone follow-up should be implemented. Indications for surgery must be rigorous, balancing the advantage of early surgical treatment and risks of treatment delay. To decrease the occupancy rate of intensive care unit beds, elective surgical treatment should be delayed until local endemic control, according to stage of disease. Patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection should be treated only after clinical recovery, two consecutive negative oropharyngeal swabs and, if available, a negative stool sample. Before any elective oncologic procedure, a multidisciplinary oncologic team including an anaesthesiologist and an infectious disease specialist must assess every patient to evaluate the risk of infection and its impact on perioperative morbidity, mortality and oncologic prognosis. The hospital should organise to manage all elective oncologic patients in an "infection-free" area or refer them to a non-SARS-CoV-2 hospital.