Major fall in urgent skin cancer referrals during the COVID-19 outbreak

Skin Cancer

J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2020 Nov 8:S1748-6815(20)30584-2. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2020.10.087. Online ahead of print.


The SARS-CoV-2 cornovirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has significantly affected referrals of new suspected cancers from primary care to specialist services in the National Health Service (NHS) across the UK. Amongst the many factors causing delay, such as fear and uncertainty about COVID-19 transmission, reluctance to seek medical attention for cancer sypmtoms and avoiding additional pressure on NHS services, we anticipate a surge in urgent skin cancer referrals to our plastic surgery service

as we enter a post-COVID recovery phase. On the basis of previous referral data and statistical forecasting, we share our predicted numbers against our actual number of urgent skin cancer referrals for the COVID-19 period and, based on this analysis, encourage all cancer services to prepare and allocate resources appropriately for the busy months to follow.