A short Q&A session with Dr. Voon Pei Jye, Head and Medical Oncologist on Continuing Care to Cancer Patients during COVID-19 Pandemic, an Experience from Radiotherapy and Oncology Department, Hospital Umum Sarawak.
For cancer patients who are under low and medium priority, how long can their treatment be delayed?
It actually needs to be individualized. For medium priority, the delay is recommended not to be more than 6 weeks as further delay may have impact to the cancer care. For low priority, risk and magnitude of the anticancer treatment need to be carefully evaluated.
Dr Voon, did you observe a high default rate among the cancer patients during this pandemic?
Yes, in reality, there is a lot of fear and anxiety in cancer patients due to this pandemic. In addition, MCO also causes travel challenges for outstation patients.
Did you observe more complications / mortality / bad outcome in cancer patients due to this COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes. The delay and default have caused increase in morbidity due to delay of diagnosis, investigation and also treatment for patients.
This is Dr. Voon's personal view from his observation at his workplace setting. It may not be applicable to other centre.
Dr. Voon Pei Jye is currently Head and Medical Oncologist with Department of Radiotherapy and Oncology, Hospital Umum Sarawak, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. He read medicine at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak and graduated in 2001. He undertook training in Internal Medicine and obtained his MRCP (UK) and Master of Medicine (Internal Medicine) from National University of Singapore in 2007. Dr Voon was later gazetted as Internal Medicine Specialist. Subsequently, he completed his advanced specialist training in Medical Oncology from National University Hospital Singapore in 2012.