Vol 26, No 2 (2021)
Research paper
Published online: 2021-03-04

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Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on patients and health professionals of a radiation oncology department at a Spanish tertiary hospital

Jesús Romero1, Raquel Benlloch1, Jorge Obeso1, Olga Engel1, Beatriz Gil1, Sofía Córdoba1, Irma Zapata1, Marta López1, Francisca Portero2
Rep Pract Oncol Radiother 2021;26(2):237-241.


Background: The sanitary emergency created by the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to take exceptional measures that affect decision-making and administration of treatments with radiotherapy. The aim of the study was to analyze the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients and professionals in a radiation oncology department. Materials and methods: We implement a plan with the objectives of maintaining radiotherapy treatment in those patients who need it and, at the same time, reducing the risk of spreading the virus to staff and patients. This plan included measures aimed at limiting the patient's stay in hospital, selecting those patients in whom radiotherapy cannot be delayed and protecting against infection through the use of physical protective measures. Results: Between March 16 and May 31, 2020, 360 patients received radiotherapy in our department. In 14 patients (4.7%) the start of treatment was delayed by an average of 28 days. Four patients had a positive COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) (6.6% and 1.1% of tested and all patients, respectively). Among the professionals, two PCRs were positive (16.6% and 4% of tested and all individuals, respectively). In the serology analysis 4 out of 50 department members were IgG positive (8%). Conclusions: Despite the fact that our department is located in a region with a high incidence of COVID-19 infection, the impact of the pandemic on our patients and staff has been moderate. The implementation of measures against infection and an adequate selection of patients for treatment allows radiation oncology departments to maintain clinical activity.

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