Onc Daily: Your COVID-19 Status,
Tumor Boards Warped

Nick Mulcahy

April 28, 2020

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's  Coronavirus Resource Center.

Here are the most important stories that Medscape Oncology's editors picked for you to read today:

Can Patients With Cancer Demand Your COVID-19 Status?

Patients' fear of infection from their healthcare providers is not justification for agreeing to requests for your COVID-19 status, says medical oncologist Don Dizon, MD, of Brown University in Rhode Island.

He describes a recent patient with cancer who, in preparing for chemotherapy, wanted to be tested for the virus. But the patient also wanted assurance that her entire treatment team was COVID-19–free, including support staff.

Surgeons Often Warp Tumor Boards

Multidisciplinary tumor boards are often touted as egalitarian gatherings where all specialties have a voice in creating the best treatment plan for a patient with cancer.

But a new study of 44 tumor boards at seven teaching hospitals and involving nearly 200 patient cases found that "hierarchy" was present in 66% of the boards. That meant that "clinical considerations" were sometimes "secondary to power-status dynamics."

Who has the most power? Surgeons, according to qualitative, observational evidence, ranging from the frequency with which surgeons interrupted others to steering patient cases to themselves.

First Global Registry on Pediatric Cancer, COVID-19

In some rare good news about COVID-19, the infection appears to be relatively innocuous in children. And even among kids with cancer who have contracted the virus, complications tend not to be severe. But data are needed to back up such initial impressions. To that end, the first-ever global registry, created by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis and the International Society of Pediatric Oncology, is now online and encouraging clinicians to submit case information.

Certain Anaerobic Bacteria Linked to Increased CRC Risk

Specific species of anaerobic bacteria are linked to large increases in the incidence rate of colorectal cancer (CRC), often within a year of infection, although whether the bacteria are causal has yet to be determined, say Danish researchers.

Investigators combined population-wide blood culture data with a national register for colorectal cancer and identified incident CRC after bacteremia. Notably, infection with Clostridium septicum was associated with a 42 times greater risk for CRC within 1 year of infection and a 21 times greater risk overall with no time limitation.

Mammography Vans Converted to COVID-19 Test Mobile Units

A trusted healthcare service on wheels in northwest Louisiana has had a partial, temporary makeover to adjust with the times and serve poor people in the region, reports the Cancer Letter.

Three vans from the Feist-Weiller Cancer Center, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center at Shreveport have been repurposed to test for COVID-19. Typically, the vehicles provide mobile cancer screening and essential healthcare to medically underserved communities.

The van service has the advantage of being a known and well-used entity in the communities in which it will offer COVID-19 testing.

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