UICC joins COVID-19 and Cancer Task Force

28 April 2020

UICC has joined a COVID-19 and Cancer Task Force to help assess the impact of COVID-19 on cancer outcomes and strengthen collaborations between infectious disease and cancer modellers.

Healthcare systems are experiencing extreme pressures due to the coronavirus pandemic. Medical resources and staff being diverted to respond to the crisis, lockdowns and quarantine are restricting access to cancer care (e.g. treatments delayed and cancer screening services cancelled), and reports are also emerging of disruptions to drug and equipment supply chains. Clinical trials and research projects are on hold, university campuses are closed, conferences are being postponed and many cancer organisations are facing up to an as yet unknown financial impact of the crisis.

The cancer community requires a better understanding of the consequences for future prevalence and mortality rates, the short- and long-term impact on the oncology workforce and, most importantly at the present time, what coronavirus means for patients with cancer - recognising, on the one hand, the potential increased risk of COVID-19 infection and, on the other, the uncertainty with regards to cancer as a comorbidity.

"The global COVID-19 pandemic simultaneously unites the world against a common threat, and highlights the massive differences between countries in terms of their capacity and willingness to act. We need data to understand the impact of our decisions now, and the more we share, the clearer the picture is likely to become"
– Diana Sarfati Interim Chief Executive, Cancer Control Agency, and University of Otago, New Zealand

The health community responses to the coronavirus pandemic to date have focused solely on the trajectory of the infection and mortality based on coronavirus interventions alone. Therefore, recognising the full spectrum of health, social and economic consequences of the pandemic and the importance of including all perspectives in infectious disease modelling approaches, UICC has joined a global taskforce with three identified priorities:

  1. To assess the impact of COVID-19 on cancer outcomes, with an emphasis on real-time analysis.
  2. To strengthen the collaboration between infectious disease and cancer modellers in the immediate and longer-term.
  3. To assess the national impact on frontline healthcare workers as the pandemic progresses.

“The social and economic consequences of COVID-19 will profoundly impact human health - well beyond immediate deaths from infection. The COVID-19 and Cancer Task Force brings together clinicians, investigators, advocates, and policy-makers from the global oncology community to understand how to respond to these challenges. One of the first steps will be to facilitate collection and sharing of high-quality health system data.”
– Professor Christopher Booth, Queen’s University Cancer Research Institute, Kingston, Canada

How can you contribute? 

The Task Force has developed a high-level survey to respond to priority one. UICC members are invited to contribute directly or share the survey with colleagues, using the survey on SurveyMonkey. Contributions are highly appreciated and should be submitted before Friday 15 May 2020

Priority two will be addressed by a modelling consortium. Please see here the call for Expressions of Interest for researchers interested in joining the consortium.

If your organisation has any queries, please contact:

Julie Torode, Director of Special Projects

Last update: 
Thursday 18 June 2020
Share
Other coronavirus news and resources
Doctor administrating vaccination to girl
22 July 2020

UICC welcomes the WHO & UNICEF response to a decline in vaccinations

Recent data from WHO and UNICEF highlights a worrying decline in child vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Older adults face bias and inequity in healthcare and cumulative risks for COVID-19
9 July 2020

Cancer care for older adults during COVID-19

Experts at a Virtual Dialogue hosted by UICC weighed in on the inequities and bias faced by older cancer patients in accessing healthcare and their cumulative risks for COVID-19.

Light Backgrounds, Jewellery, Ornament
1 July 2020

Getting through COVID-19: innovating and collaborating like never before

Michael Oberreiter, Global Head of Access at Roche, reflects on the innovative solutions that have come out of the coronavirus pandemic and how they could make a positive impact on the lives of cancer patients going forward.

People in business attire talking
25 June 2020

NCDs and COVID-19: Using law to act on NCDs during the pandemic

Governments and health officials are mobilising like never before to control the spread of the coronavirus and care for people who have been infected.

Virtual health nurse care coordinator (c) Jason W Edwards, US Army
24 June 2020

Addressing the challenges to the cancer community raised by COVID-19

Three UICC virtual Members Dialogues held in May and June provided insights and recommendations for some of the major challenges facing the cancer community amidst the coronavirus pandemic. 

UICC launches its Virtual Fellowships
15 June 2020

Virtual Fellowships for UICC Members

UICC is launching a virtual alternative to the in-person learning experience provided by UICC’s Fellowships programmes, allowing the continued transfer and exchange of key skills and knowledge in cancer control at a time when UICC members need it the most.