Article Warns of Future Impact from Lack of Proactive Cancer Care

Cambridge, MA, July 28, 2020 — A study leveraging TriNetX, the global health research network that optimizes clinical research and enables discoveries through the generation of real-world evidence (RWE), found that cancer patient encounters fell precipitously in January to April 2020 compared to the same months in 2019. The most dramatic finding was that some cancer screenings fell by almost 90 percent year-over-year.

“These startling results do not bode well for the future,” said Jack London, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Cancer Biology, Thomas Jefferson University. “Oncologists will likely be seeing later stage patients initially which will significantly impact patient treatment and prognosis.”

The article, The Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Cancer Patient Encounters was written by Jack W. London and Christopher McNair of the Department of Cancer Biology, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University; Elnara Fazio-Eynullayeva and Matvey B. Palchuk of TriNetX; and Peter Sankey of the University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, and was published in JCO Clinical Cancer Informatics. The article is currently available for download at https://ascopubs.org/doi/full/10.1200/CCI.20.00068.

The study used the TriNetX platform to analyze de-identified, relevant, up-to-date data of over 28 million patients from 20 U. S. healthcare institutions. Using this COVID and Cancer Research Network (CCRN) and data from University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust in the U.K., the authors compared cancer patient cohorts pre-COVID (January-April 2019) to the same months in 2020. Cohorts were generated for all neoplasm patients (malignant, benign, in situ, and of unspecified behavior), all new incidence neoplasm patients (first encounter), exclusively malignant neoplasm patients, and new incidence malignant neoplasm patients. Additional analyses were performed on patients with selected cancers as well as patients having cancer screenings.

The most significant finding was an 89.2 percent decrease in breast cancer screening and an 84.5 percent reduction in colorectal screenings in April 2020. Other cancer related encounters had decreased from between 39 to 75 percent year-over-year.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous immediate impact on the world, and it is clear there will be effects for years to come. These observed trends will have serious implications for future cancer care and highlight the need for further study,”said Matvey Palchuk, Vice President of Informatics at TriNetX and one of the authors of the paper.

TriNetX offers the largest global collaborative research network representing leading healthcare organizations (HCOs) and health data partners, spanning 28 countries. TriNetX has been used to analyze over 26,000 protocols and has presented nearly 7,000 clinical trial opportunities to its HCO members.

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About TriNetX
TriNetX is the global health research network that connects the world of drug discovery and development from pharmaceutical company to study site, and investigator to patient by sharing real-world data to make clinical and observational research easier and more efficient. TriNetX combines real time access to longitudinal clinical data with state-of-the-art analytics to optimize protocol design and feasibility, site selection, patient recruitment, and enable discoveries through the generation of real-world evidence. The TriNetX platform is HIPAA and GDPR compliant. For more information, visit TriNetX at http://www.trinetx.com or follow @TriNetX on Twitter. 

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