Introduction/Background COVID-19 outbreak has correlated with the disruption of screening activities, regular follow up visits, and diagnostic assessments. The risk of misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis has consequently increased during the pandemic. Endometrial cancer is one of the most common gynecological malignancies and it is often detected at an early stage, because it frequently produces symptoms (e.g. abnormal vaginal bleeding). Here, we aim to investigate the impact of COVID-19 outbreak on patterns of presentation and treatment of endometrial cancer patients.
Methodology This is a retrospective study involving 53 centers in Italy. We evaluated patterns of presentation and treatment of endometrial cancer patients before (period 1: from 03/01/2019 to 02/29/2020) and during (period 2: from 01/04/2020 to 3/31/2021) the COVID-19 outbreak.
Results Medical records of 5,117 endometrial cancer patients have been retrieved: 2,688 and 2,429 women treated in period 1 and period 2, respectively. The prevalence of endometrioid International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (FIGO) grade 1, 2, and 3 was consistent over the study period (p=0.769). However, the prevalence of non-endometrioid endometrial cancer was lower in period 1 than in period 2 (15.7% vs. 17.9%; p=0.015). Nodal assessment was omitted in 684 (27.3%) and 478 (21%) patients treated in period 1 and 2, respectively (p<0.001). While, the prevalence of patients undergoing sentinel node mapping (with or without backup lymphadenectomy) has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic (46.8% in period 1 vs. 53.1% in period 2; p<0.001). Adjuvant therapy was omitted in 1,269 (50.5%) and 1,019 (44.9%) patients receiving treatment in period 1 and 2, respectively (p<0.001). Adjuvant therapy use has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic (p<0.001).
Conclusion Our data suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the characteristics and patterns of care of endometrial cancer patients. These results highlight the need to implement healthcare services during the pandemic.
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