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Coronavirus affecting 25% of Japan cancer patients' treatment: survey

A screenshot of the Japanese Society of Medical Oncology's novel coronavirus FAQ page for cancer patients.

TOKYO -- About one-fourth of respondents to a survey of cancer patients say their treatment is being impacted by the novel coronavirus, according to an association for people with cancers common in women.

The survey by the Peer Ring online association was carried out between April 19 and April 25. Of the 1,101 respondents, 78.9% had breast cancer, 10.7% had cervical cancer or uterine cancer, and 7.7% had ovarian cancer.

Of the respondents, 272 people, or 24.7%, said their treatment is being affected by the new coronavirus. Asked what specifically has happened, 46 people said they had to postpone chemotherapy and other non-surgical treatment due to conditions at the medical facilities. Nineteen people had to postpone surgeries. Check-ups for 41 respondents, examinations for 29 people and breast reconstruction for 27 patients were also postponed. Fifty-seven people postponed hospital visits due to concerns they would get the virus there.

Furthermore, over 90% of the respondents said they are worried they or their families will get infected. In the additional comment section, one patient wrote, "We ask that authorities also turn their attention to illnesses other than infectious diseases," while another respondent said, "We want them to make sure that treatment delays will not lead to irreversible consequences."

Peer Ring representative director Nobuko Ueda commented, "We ask that every individual take thorough measures such as staying indoors to protect the medical field, so that patients needing treatment can get it."

(Japanese original by Ayumu Iwasaki, Science & Environment News Department)

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