The effect of COVID-19 on the Management of Rectal Cancer

Document Type : Research/Original Article


1 Colorectal Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

2 Colorectal Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, IR Iran

3 Kerbala University of Medical Sciences, Kerbala, Iraq


Background: Rectal cancer is a malignant tumor of the digestive tract and as it is a widespread condition it demands comprehensive research. At the time of the writing of the present study, COVID-19 infection rates are rising rapidly in Iran and the study attempts to make an evaluation of the country’s rectal cancer management during the pandemic.
Methods: 83 patients were divided into two groups and closely studied. The first group underwent rectal cancer surgery during a 9 month period in 2019, while the second group underwent the same process during the same amount of time in 2020. Demographic data, surgery and outcomes after surgery were assessed and compared between the two groups. The data were analyzed by SPSS (statistical analyzer software, ver. 22).
Results: The age, weight, height, BMI, size of tumor, and numbers of involved lymph nodes were not different between the two groups. The radiotherapy techniques were significantly different between two groups (p=0.012). Neoadjuvant long course chemoradiation therapy was changed to short-course radiation therapy during the pandemic and hospital stay for the patients was significantly longer during the pandemic (p=0.010). There is no difference in the recurrence or overall survival between the two groups. Metastasis was seen in six patients in the 2019 group,, whereas this phenomenon was not observed in the 2020 group. . The size of tumors were larger in the 2020 group, but it was not statistically different (p=0.064).Conclusion: Cancer is a highly complicated and problematic decease which stresses the importance of immediate diagnosis and treatment; however during the COVID-19 pandemic, medical centers may need to take additional measures to protect their cancer patients.


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