Article of the week: Managing haematology and oncology patients during the COVID-19 pandemic

Myeloma Australia’s Medical and Scientific Advisory Group (MSAG) presents the article of the week. The article from Australia’s National Centre for Infections in Cancer (NCIC, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre) includes MSAG members Prof Jeff Szer and A/Prof Peter Mollee as co-authors.  Along with this guide for health care professionals please find attached the guide for patients, produced by Myeloma Australia.

MSAG will be monitoring the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation closely and sharing information with you as it comes to hand. If you publish guidelines or research in this space, please send them through to me.

Article of the week

Managing haematology and oncology patients during the COVID-19 pandemic: Interim consensus guidance.
Haematology & Oncology COVID-19 Interim Guidance 16th March 2020.

Robert Weinkove, Zoe McQuilten, Emily Blyth, Allen C Cheng, Rachel Conyer, Megan Crane9, Gabrielle Haeusler9, Christopher Jackson, Steven Lane, Peter Mollee, Stephen Mulligan, David Ritchie, Myra Ruka, Ben Solomon, Jeff Szer, Karin Thursky, Erica Wood, Leon Worth, Michelle Yong, Monica Slavin and Benjamin Teh.

A pandemic coronavirus, termed SARS-CoV-2, causes a respiratory illness called COVID-19 disease, which is often severe or life-threatening. Patients with cancer may have compromised immunity due to their disease or its treatment, and early reports suggest cancer is a risk factor for severe COVID-19 disease. Community transmission of SARS-CoV-2 has the potential to overwhelm healthcare services, compromising the delivery of cancer investigations and care. Pending definitive evidence, this interim consensus guidance summarises the clinical presentation and diagnosis of COVID-19 disease, provides factors to consider when managing patients with cancer, and discusses risk factors for severe COVID-19 disease. Possible actions for clinicians managing patients with cancer are suggested, and are phased according to the presence or absence of community transmission and disruption to normal healthcare provision. Key communication points for patients are proposed, and the potential impacts of COVID-19 disease on transfusion practice, stem cell transplantation and cellular therapies, clinical trial participation and provision of palliative care are discussed.

The full article can be downloaded here