Cancer and COVID-19

The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) is keenly aware of the monumental challenges that the coronavirus pandemic has created for cancer organisations, people living with cancer and their caregivers.

A nurse helps a patient at the hospital - both are wearing a mask

UICC recognises the innovative responses and adaptations that they have implemented to maintain progress in the fight against cancer. 

To address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic around the world, UICC has strengthened support for its members and continues to work with partners such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international bodies. 

UICC's Virtual Dialogues were launched in May 2020 to connect members, facilitate knowledge sharing and provide expert insights. Furthermore, UICC has joined the COVID-19 and Cancer Task Force to help assess the impact of COVID-19 on cancer outcomes and reinforce collaborations between infectious disease and cancer modellers.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, UICC has been giving voice to its members and partners in their response to the unprecedented challenges they face. These stories highlight that while the pandemic is threatening the progress being made in the fight against cancer, it has also created the opportunity to address systemic weaknesses in many national health systems. 

Innovations and adaptations in response to COVID-19

Organisations and healthcare workers are rallying across the globe to support patients, resume screenings and diagnostics, maintain awareness on the need for prevention and provide a safe environment for treatment. Volunteers have mobilised to deliver medication and even food to patients in need, or ensure transportation to care centres. The private sector is developing innovative technologies to reduce the time spent in care settings while maintaining quality of treatment. Digital technology is allowing doctors and research centres to collaborate and share knowledge at a global level, and accelerating the move towards greater patient-centred care.

Access a report collating examples of adaptations that have emerged for the safe restoration and continuation of cancer services, or explore the many articles below.

Cancer care in India during COVID-19: lessons learned and innovations

Two medical practioners in personal protective equipment at a makeshift COVID-19 hospital in India.

Cancer and COVID-19 in Peru: cancer advocacy success in the midst of a deadly pandemic

Staff at Esperantra, a patient assistance and advocacy organisation in Peru

How COVID-19 vaccines could help put cancer care back on track

Senior African woman receiving the COVID-19 vaccine
Dany Habr

Adapting HPV vaccine programmes in the COVID-19 pandemic

The pandemic has caused many disruptions to essential health services, including routine immunisation. Two countries, Uganda and Mauritania, where PATH provides technical assistance for HPV vaccine, successfully adapted their programmes.
Tara Newton

Collective resilience: adapting as a community to the pandemic

Daiichi Sankyo is working hand-in-hand with the UICC in a number of forums to ensure the cancer community can stay informed and feel connected and empowered even while socially distanced
Gissoo DeCotiis

Working hard to ensure cancer is not the forgotten ‘C’

Macmillan Cancer Support in the UK has being doing whatever it takes to adapt to the ever-evolving health situation and ensure the continuation of its crucial support during this challenging time
Lynda Thomas

COVID-19 and cancer control in Peru: the response of a private oncology centre

Oncosalud in Peru took effective measures to mitigate the disruptions in cancer care due to COVID-19
Dr Carlos Santiago Vallejos Sologuren

Why cancer control is fundamental during a pandemic

A comprehensive national cancer control plan can help ensure the continued delivery of cancer care even during a pandemic or other public health crisis

Cancer care during COVID-19 in Malaysia: focusing on prevention and primary care

Cancer services have continued to operate at the University of Malaya Medical Centre through the pandemic with minimal in-hospital infections.

Beyond the headlines lie unsung heroes

Bill Anderson of Roche shines the light on the the everyday heroes who ensured people with cancer continue to get the care they need
Bill Anderson

Facing a pandemic head on: How CCS took bold action to continue supporting the most vulnerable

Despite the challenges oF COVID-19, CCS quickly found ways to adapt to the realities of COVID-19
Andrea Seale

How breast cancer patients in Sierra Leone are affected by COVID-19

Thinking Pink Breast Cancer Foundation is one of the only acting organisations in Sierra Leone working on raising awareness about breast cancer and bringing treatment to all Sierra Leoneans. Here, CEO Ms Pratt with former UICC presdient, Princess Dina Mired.
Cremelda Parkinson Pratt

Confronting Cancer and COVID-19 in Venezuela

UICC member and Manager of Education and Prevention at Sociedad Anticancerosa de Venezuela (Venezuelan Anti-Cancer Society)

Cancer beyond COVID-19: reimagining cancer screening and diagnosis

The cancer community is adapting and innovating in response to disruptions in cancer care due to COVID-19 (picture taken at the University Hospital Hassan II, Morocco)

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

Doctor administrating vaccination to girl

Cancer care for older adults during COVID-19

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

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

Light Backgrounds, Jewellery, Ornament
Michael Oberreiter

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

People in business attire talking
Clare Slattery

Disruptions to cancer care

Cancer organisations around the world struggle to maintain delivery of their life-saving services as a result of the pandemic, not only due to a drop in resources but also because of the necessary measures enacted to contain the spread of the coronavirus and fears of contagion on the part of patients.

Reports highlight exacerbated shortages in frontline staff, sometimes redirected to the COVID-19 response; interruptions and delays in prevention programmes, diagnostics and testing, clinical trials and research; difficulties in engaging in community outreach with restrictions on travel and social gathering; and greater barriers to accessing essential medicines in low- and middle-income countries.

A new surge in COVID-19 sets cancer care in Namibia back by over a decade

Photo of the Cancer Association of Namibia team

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

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

WHO report highlights severe disruptions to cancer services due to COVID-19

Disruptions to cancer services due to COVID-19

The Impact of Coronavirus on Cancer Diagnosis and Testing

test tubes in laboratory
Steve Vitale

Holding up the end of the line: our role as cancer civil society organisations

NCSM covid response providing PPE to health workers
Dr Murallitharan Munisamy

Cancer and coronavirus in Africa: the challenges facing volunteer organisations

Vaccination in Kenya - USAID US Agency for International Development

Cancer and Coronavirus – long-term repercussions and funding issues

UICC joins COVID-19 and Cancer Task Force

Coronavirus in LMICs: effective advocacy in the face of adversity

Providing safe environments for cancer patients during the coronavirus pandemic

Photo of a nurse wearing. face mask
Felipe Roitberg

Coronavirus and Cancer Care: planning, informing, assisting and giving hope

Masked health worker - Cancer care and coronavirus

UICC's Virtual Dialogues on cancer and COVID-19

Since May 2020, UICC has organised several Virtual Dialogues, providing insights into some of the major challenges facing the cancer community amidst the coronavirus pandemic and exploring possible responses and solutions to these challenges. 

Cancer beyond COVID-19 series: #1 Reimagining cancer screening and diagnosis

Union for International Cancer Control (UICC)

Cancer beyond COVID-19 series: #2 Bringing quality cancer care closer to patients

Union for International Cancer Control (UICC)

Cancer beyond COVID-19 series: #3 Strengthening the case for investment in cancer control

Union for International Cancer Control (UICC)

Special Focus Dialogue - Fixing the challenges in the diagnostic testing ecosystem post-COVID-19

Union for International Cancer Control (UICC)
More Virtual Dialogues recordings
Cancer and the Coronavirus COVID-19
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UICC initiates a series of Virtual Dialogues - Smart domotics business city
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Last update

Wednesday 26 April 2023

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