Edlund K, Dahlström LA, Ekström AM, van der Kop ML
Support Care Cancer 30 (11) 9101-9108 [2022-11-00; online 2022-08-19]
We aimed to determine whether there was a difference in access to cancer-related healthcare between people living in Sweden and the United Kingdom (UK) during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also describe how the pandemic affected social contact of patients undergoing treatment. This cross-sectional study used survey data collected through the War on Cancer mobile phone application between September 5, 2020, and January 6, 2021. We included individuals with cancer diagnoses living in Sweden or the UK. The association between difficulty accessing cancer-related healthcare and country was examined using logistic regression. Frequencies were used to describe the effect of the pandemic on social contact. Of 491 individuals included in the study, 183 were living in the UK and 308 in Sweden. Living in the UK was associated with greater difficulty accessing cancer-related healthcare (n = 99/183, 54.1%) than living in Sweden (n = 100/308, 32.5%) (odds ratio 2.12, 95% CI 1.39-3.23, p < 0.001). The pandemic affected social contact for almost all patients (n = 218/238, 91.6%) undergoing treatment. This study highlights the differential impact that the pandemic may have had on patients' access to cancer-related care in the UK and Sweden. In both countries, the pandemic overwhelmingly affected social contact of individuals undergoing cancer treatment. New ways must be found to improve access to cancer-related care and reduce social isolation for patients with cancer during a pandemic.