van den Oever SR, Pluijm SMF, Skinner R, Glaser A, Mulder RL, Armenian S, Bardi E, Berger C, Ehrhardt MJ, Gilleland Marchak J, Haeusler GM, Hartogh JD, Hjorth L, Kepak T, Kriviene I, Langer T, Maeda M, Márquez-Vega C, Michel G, Muraca M, Najib M, Nathan PC, Panasiuk A, Prasad M, Roganovic J, Uyttebroeck A, Winther JF, Zadravec Zaletel L, van Dalen EC, van der Pal HJH, Hudson MM, Kremer LCM, IGHG COVID-19 working group
J Cancer Surviv - (-) - [2022-01-12; online 2022-01-12]
Long-term follow-up (LTFU) care is essential to optimise health outcomes in childhood cancer survivors (CCS). We aimed to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on LTFU services and providers. A COVID-19 working group within the International Late Effects of Childhood Cancer Guideline Harmonization Group (IGHG) distributed a questionnaire to LTFU service providers in 37 countries across Europe, Asia, North America, Central/South America, and Australia. The questionnaire assessed how care delivery methods changed during the pandemic and respondents' level of worry about the pandemic's impact on LTFU care delivery, their finances, their health, and that of their family and friends. Among 226 institutions, providers from 178 (79%) responded. Shortly after the initial outbreak, 42% of LTFU clinics closed. Restrictions during the pandemic resulted in fewer in-person consultations and an increased use of telemedicine, telephone, and email consultations. The use of a risk assessment to prioritise the method of LTFU consultation for individual CCS increased from 12 to 47%. While respondents anticipated in-person consultations to remain the primary method for LTFU service delivery, they expected significantly increased use of telemedicine and telephone consultations after the pandemic. On average, respondents reported highest levels of worry about psychosocial well-being of survivors. The pandemic necessitated changes in LTFU service delivery, including greater use of virtual LTFU care and risk-stratification to identify CCS that need in-person evaluations. Increased utilisation of virtual LTFU care and risk stratification is likely to persist post-pandemic.