COVID-19 and Colorectal Cancer Get The Facts

COVID-19 PATIENT SURVEY REPORT

Coronavirus has taken the world by storm since the beginning of 2020, and has impacted us all in many ways. However, the impact of the virus on cancer patients, their treatment and their quality of life has been significant. In April 2020, Colorectal Cancer Canada set out to investigate the most challenging aspects of COVID-19 on colorectal cancer patients and caregivers. This information is important as it will help guide our resources to better serve colorectal cancer patients across Canada. Here is a summary of what we found.

The first section of our survey aimed to identify challenges and issues that colorectal cancer patients are facing in the midst of COVID-19. One of the most significant results from this section was that 63% of colorectal cancer patients rated their stress levels significantly higher due to COVID-19. Another significant finding was that 44.9% of survey respondents experienced delayed or cancelled appointments. Additionally, 76% of respondents feared going to the hospital or clinic, and 50% were unable to obtain protective gear. Many patients also expressed the challenges of isolation and lack of physical support during COVID-19. One patient stated “[The isolation has been] extremely traumatic. There was no one to support the mental health piece of the experience and/or to recognize the strain it adds to the situation”. Many patients also expressed their concerns with cancer care and clinical trials falling behind as a priority, being more vulnerable to COVID-19 and uncertainty for what the future holds.

The second section of our survey aimed to identify resources that may be useful for patients and caregivers during and post-COVID-19. The patients were asked to rank suggested resources from most to least needed, and also provided them with an opportunity to provide other suggestions. The rank order was as follows: Q&A sessions, exercise and nutrition support, stress and coping resources, webinars, newsletters and live chat rooms. Other suggestions include live phone calls, a forum for patients and caregivers to share their experiences and transportation support. These suggestions will guide Colorectal Cancer Canada in the coming months as we provide resources for colorectal cancer patients in these difficult times.

Though COVID-19 has taken a large toll on society as a whole, we asked respondents to share any positive experiences as a result of the virus. We were delighted to read many uplifting examples, highlighting that there is some positivity in such trying times. One respondent mentioned healthy habits, writing “Exercising daily, eating very healthy and chatting with friends and neighbours”. Another discussed the time saved by phone appointments, writing “Having test results reviewed by phone rather than an in-person visit saves a lot of travel and waiting time”. Other respondents mentioned their gratitude towards healthcare workers, the kindness and friendliness that others have shown, and increased time spent with family.
Colorectal Cancer Canada would like to express our sincere heartfelt gratitude to all who participated in the survey or provided sponsorship. Without you, this initiative would not be possible.

To read the full survey report, please click HERE

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