INTRODUCTION: The immunosuppressive nature of some cancers and many cancer-directed treatments may increase the risk of infection with and severe sequelae from Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The objective of this study was to compare concerns about COVID-19 among individuals undergoing cancer treatment to those with a history of cancer not currently receiving therapy and to those without a cancer history.

METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional anonymous online survey study of adults currently residing in the United States. Participants were recruited over a one-week period (April 3-11, 2020) using promoted advertisements on Facebook and Twitter. Groups were compared using chi-squared tests, Fisher's exact tests, and t-tests.

RESULTS: 543 respondents from 47 states provided information on their cancer history and were included in analyses. Participants receiving active treatment reported greater concern about infection from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (p<0.001), higher levels of family distress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic (p = 0.004), and greater concern that the general public does not adequately understand the seriousness of COVID-19 (p = 0.04). Those with metastatic disease were more likely to indicate that COVID-19 had negatively affected their cancer care compared to patients with non-metastatic cancer (50.8% vs. 31.0%; p = 0.02). The most commonly reported treatment modifications included chemotherapy delays.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients undergoing active treatment for cancer were most concerned about the short-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the logistics as well as potential efficacy of ongoing cancer treatment, longer term effects, and overarching societal concerns that the population at large is not as concerned about the public health implications of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e0241741
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Perspectives of cancer patients and their health during the COVID-19 pandemic'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this