These conclusions, according to researchers who published a report in the scientific journal The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, emphasise "the urgency" of a global response distributed equitably to pay attention to pediatric oncology during the pandemic and in future public health emergencies.

The researchers included in the publication an analysis of the responses of 311 professionals from 213 health facilities in 79 countries that are part of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The work covered the period between 22 June and 21 August 2020 and included a questionnaire to assess the characteristics of hospitals, the number of patients diagnosed with Covid-19 and changes and adaptations in cancer care.

This evaluation allowed inferences that the pandemic impaired the capacity of hospital units in cancer detection by 78 percent.

The pandemic also reduced resources and their dispersion across hospital services, consequently impairing cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Almost half of the health units (43 percent) said they had diagnosed fewer cases of cancer, while 34 percent reported an increase in the number of patients abandoning treatments.

The questionnaire also revealed that almost one in ten hospitals (7 percent) had to completely close the unit dedicated to paediatric cancer cases at some point, with the average closure period corresponding to ten days.

The majority (87 percent) were hospitals in countries considered to be developing countries.

Kim Schiffmann