Treatment of Osteosarcoma Patients in the Philippine General Hospital during the COVID-19 Outbreak
Objectives. The ongoing Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has disrupted healthcare systems worldwide. This study aimed to document the effect of COVID-19 on osteosarcoma treatment pathways in the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) and determine if there were any delays.
Method. A retrospective review of osteosarcoma patients treated at the PGH from January 1, 2019 – January 1, 2020 (pre-COVID-19) was compared to those treated during the COVID-19 pandemic from March 1, 2020 – September 1, 2020. Rates of diagnosed osteosarcoma, admission for chemotherapy, admission for surgery, treatment abandonment, metastatic disease on presentation, 1-year mortality, and amputation were calculated and compared between the two groups.
Results. From March to September 2020, 11 newly diagnosed osteosarcoma patients sought consult at the PGH. Only one patient sought consult during the initial 3-4 months of the study, suggesting that patients delayed seeking healthcare during the period of enhanced community quarantine. Patients seen during the pandemic had a higher rate of metastatic disease on presentation, reflecting the delay in diagnosis. Due to COVID-19 restrictions early in the pandemic, osteosarcoma patients were coordinated and referred to outside hospitals for intravenous chemotherapy and surgery. Normalization of services (hospital admissions, limb salvage surgeries) were seen at the later stages of the study, corresponding to the loosening of the quarantine.
Conclusions. Osteosarcoma patients experienced delays in seeking consult, diagnosis, and treatment at the PGH due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Early indicators suggest worse outcomes for these patients due to the delays. Strategies employed during the pandemic, such as networking of care and telemedicine, may help in future outbreaks.