Rise in patients with brain metastases after missing cancer treatment follow-up: Delhi hospital

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New Delhi, Jul 9 (PTI) A private hospital in the national capital on Friday said it has observed an increase in the number of patients with brain metastases after they missed follow-up of their cancer treatment owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

The hospital has seen three such cases in the last six months against none in the prior six months, while one patient succumbed to the illness, it said.

Brain metastases is a condition when tumour cells of cancer, diagnosed elsewhere in the body, reach the brain. The condition occurs due to no follow-ups in diagnosed cancer patients, a statement from Moolchand Hospital here said.

'These patients were unable to access follow-up for their cancer care. They were unable to go for imaging studies and follow up on their chemotherapy. Tertiary care for cancer patients was limited as all beds were turned into Covid beds.

'This shortage of access to cancer follow-up along with the fear of Covid and the various lockdowns have led to a deluge of patients suffering from the aggressive spread of cancer,' said Dr Madhu Handa, Medical Director, Moolchand Hospital.

The incidence of cancer cells spreading to the brain varies between 10 per cent to 30 per cent. The chances of survival in such conditions are very feeble. In most cases, the survival varies between two months to seven months only, it said.

'The pandemic has taken its toll on Covid patients and more so on non-Covid patients in particular those with cancers. Future pandemic lessons should incorporate protocols to sustain continued healthcare for all,' Dr Handa added.

Another hospital said people delayed procedures which led to an aggravation of their problem.

'With people delaying procedures, their illnesses got aggravated and now when they are coming to hospitals for surgeries, the operative procedures they have to undergo are more complex. Even though the number of patients has increased, some hospitals here have said the number of elective surgeries are still much lower as compared to pre-Covid times.

'Interestingly, follow-up consultations through telemedicine for these specialities have increased than the last year. We are monitoring Covid situation and are also in touch with our patients to prioritize non-COVID surgeries on case to case basis,' said Dr. Aashish Chaudhry, MD, Aakash Healthcare, Dwarka. PTI SLB TDS TDS TDS

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