In recent weeks, physicians have found their lives turned upside down. Those at the front line have worked long hours, risking exposure to a deadly disease. Others have had to close their clinics and stop seeing patients face-to-face. Many have had to put off elective medical procedures. Oncologists have found themselves suddenly needing to learn how to deliver life sustaining cancer care, while protecting their patients and staff. In these times, they have turned to each other for advice and guidance.
Since mid-March, theMednet has focused on national collaboration among oncologists to share knowledge and best practices on how to manage cancer patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. theMednet community of oncologists has asked and responded to nearly 50 questions related to COVID-19 and cancer patients. Additionally, we have shared with national professional societies, such as the American Society for Radiation Oncology, questions oncologists around the country are asking as they have been working on their national guidelines. Questions have been focused on how the COVID-19 pandemic changes our standard of care practices around chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery; the best practices and precautions for physicians and staff in oncology clinics; resource management and PPE; and the appropriateness of delaying cancer therapies.
For the first time, theMednet is expanding our reach like never before. Given the need for a greater public response, we are making these private and secure conversations open to a broader community of physicians and the public. Additionally, we are creating new communities for specialists who treat immunocompromised patients, such as pediatric oncologists and rheumatologists. We believe this will ensure not only a faster response to the pandemic, but a wider breadth of information available to all.
It is our mission at theMednet to provide our community of over 10,000 oncologists with access to expert insights and knowledge to better inform patient care in cancer. The nature of COVID-19 means that information is evolving at a rapid pace. In this time of crisis, our community has risen to the challenge of helping each other by provided updated guidelines, practices, and advice for caring for cancer patients. This is a testament not only to theMednet mission of providing quality information to physicians on the front line, but also to our community's dedication to patient health and safety.
Thank you to all of our physician experts and editors, who in the midst of caring for your own patients and families, have taken the time to answer questions from colleagues in this time of unprecedented uncertainty and fear.
-Nadine Housri, MD
Assistant Professor, Yale School of Medicine