Since the outbreak of COVID-19, dealing with cancer has got impeccably challenging and traumatizing both for the patients and their caregivers. The pandemic caused a hostile impact on the mental well-being of millions of people around the world. More so among those with cancer patients with their compromised immune systems as they are more prone to infections. Even visiting a hospital is fraught with consequences if one has cancer. With this situation, not only treatments have been interrupted, operations and therapies postponed, but also cancer screening have ground to a halt. Those patients with advanced and recurrent cancers have often found themselves abandoned midstream. According to the National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research, about 2.25 million individuals are living with cancer in India, alone. With the daily struggle to bring the covid-19 virus under control and in the process to find solutions, led many people waiting to do their early diagnosis, for consultations, an operation or even for therapy. Therefore, with the uncertainty, came along high levels of anxiety, fear, isolation, paranoia and emotional distress hampering the mental well-being of the cancer patients because of their already compromised immune systems
Purpose: This exploratory paper aims to examine the literature on the impact of COVID-19 on the cancer patients.
Design/Methodology/Approach: A literature search was carried out in recently published articles to locate literature relating to COVID-19 and its impact on cancer care in India and internationally. This included the steps taken to curb the gaps in utilization of cancer care services and to gain an insight on the access of care and disruption of treatment journeys.
Findings: The findings suggest that the spread of COVID-19 gave rise to a huge backlog of patients of cancer who needed urgent care. The findings highlighted the tumultuous condition of the Indian healthcare system which spends only 1.28 percent of its GDP in health infrastructure and the fact that each individual cancer patient has a separate disease status, age, frailty, and comorbidities which should be maintained, as well as the potential of alternative strategies of care delivery. Moreover, the use of telemedicine is at a great process in the west with large positive experiences from both the doctors and the patients, which also should be carried out in India considering the ongoing pandemic and the vast majority of cancer patients across the country.