Healthcare systems and providers around the world are coming together and adapting quickly to deliver care to patients under extraordinary circumstances as the coronavirus pandemic evolves.
Our own purview as a company is cancer care. Cancer patients are already impacted in areas hard hit by the pandemic as hospital and laboratory resources come under strain. While our team has been busy preparing for this eventuality, a quote in a recent article in The New York Times really drove this home for us:
“The gray area are the cancer patients,” said Dr. Arooj Simmonds, co-executive medical director of surgical services at Swedish Medical Center, which operates several hospitals in the Seattle area.
This ‘gray area’ covers multiple facets of cancer care, from performing tissue biopsies to protecting the immune-compromised from exposure. The American College of Surgeons has recommended every hospital, health system and surgeon in the country review the necessity of each procedure they have scheduled. Similar guidance has been issued in British Columbia, where we are headquartered.
Under these unprecedented conditions, we and our community are asking – what can we do to ensure cancer patients continue to receive the care they need? In response, we are in active discussions with partners in Canada, the United States and Australia to provide consistent and timely support to ensure their vital work is not interrupted, and to make ctDNA options available where tissue biopsy may not be.
As a member of the broader oncology community, we are also closely following guidance that will evolve in the coming days and weeks from our professional societies. ASCO, for example, has created a FAQ to keep members up-to-date on issues and challenges they see emerging while caring for patients with cancer in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Providing care to cancer patients during this time will require a tremendous community response. The situation will continue to be dynamic. With a mission to provide better access to high-quality and affordable genomic testing worldwide, Contextual Genomics is mobilizing for the long-haul to support cancer patients, oncologists, lab partners, and the community-at-large.