New Landmark Tool in the Fight Against the Impact of Covid-19 on Cancer Launched

  • As part of the ‘Time To Act’ campaign, the European Cancer Organisation is launching its Data Navigator, making key data on the impact of Covid-19 on cancer available across European countries. 

    The ‘Time to Act’ Data Navigator was launched at the annual European Cancer Summit. Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast, working with a team as part of the European Cancer Organisation, have developed the novel interactive tool that presents data on the impact of Covid-19 on cancer across an initial set of 17 European countries. 

    Covid-19 has dramatically affected cancer control and care delivery across Europe. Data Intelligence work has indicated that an estimated 100 million screening tests were not performed overall in Europe, as many as one million European citizens may be going around with an undiagnosed cancer, while up to half of all cancer patients were affected by treatment delays.

     The burden of Covid-19 has also impacted healthcare workers’ wellbeing, with 40% of them feeling burned out and 30% showing signs of clinical depression. 

    Designed as an interactive map of Europe, the Data Navigator gathers for the first time a large body of intelligence at the national and pan-national level on the impact of Covid-19 on cancer. 

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    Based on the analysis of over 200 data sources, it visualises key data and country profiles on, for example, stalled cancer screening programmes, missed cancer diagnosis, delayed cancer treatments, and the impact on healthcare workers’ mental health during the pandemic. It is a living tool, to which anyone may submit new data to be considered for inclusion.  

    Thanks to its extensive scope, the Data Navigator further demonstrates the worrying impact of Covid-19 across all the elements of cancer control and care throughout Europe, highlighting the need to urgently address the cancer backlog and build back better, more resilient cancer systems. 

    Professor Mark Lawler, Professor of Digital Health at Queen’s University Belfast, Co-Chair of the European Cancer Organisation’s Special Network on the Impact of Covid-19 on Cancer and Co-Lead in the development of the Data Navigator, said: “While Covid-19 exposed significant gaps in our healthcare systems, the overall impacts of Covid-19 on cancer care delivery across European countries is as yet unknown. Therefore, we developed a user-friendly data tool that will help to assess challenges and inequalities in cancer care delivery that European countries experienced during the pandemic.”  

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    Dr Mirjam Crul, Oncology Pharmacist, Responsible for Aseptic Compounding at the Amsterdam University Medical Center and Co-Chair of the European Cancer Organisation’s Special Network on the Impact of Covid-19 on Cancer also added: “The ‘Time to Act’ Data Navigator is an important milestone in the battle against cancer, as it contains a wide array of indicators including missed diagnoses and delayed treatments among others. This allows us to address significant knowledge gaps about the impact of Covid-19 on cancer care and cancer patients. It is a living tool and we encourage cancer organisations and public health stakeholders across Europe to contribute to its development by submitting new data.” 

    Addressing the cancer care backlog across Europe requires the collaboration of the entire cancer community. Cancer knows no borders, neither should we. It is ‘Time To Act’ together to ensure improved cancer patient outcomes and build more resilient healthcare systems. 

    Source: Written from press release.

    About the author

    Aoife is a Sync NI writer with a previous background working in print, online and broadcast media. She has a keen interest in all things tech related. To connect with Aoife feel free to send her an email or connect on LinkedIn.

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