Oncology provider experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



PloS one








PURPOSE: The COVID-19 pandemic upended nearly all aspects of daily life and of medical care, placing a double burden of professional and personal concerns on those who provide medical care. We set out to assess the burden of the pandemic on provider outlook and understand how cancer survivorship providers experienced rapid changes to practice. METHODS: We distributed a survey through the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC) to its accredited organizations in mid-October 2020. We included questions on provider characteristics, changes in patient care practices resulting from the pandemic, worry about COVID-19, and concern about impact on cancer survivors. RESULTS: Of the n = 607 participants, three-quarters were female and three-quarters were White. Only 2.1% of participants reported having had COVID-19, but 43% reported anxiety about getting COVID-19 and over a quarter experienced sadness or depression, anxiety about the future, changes to sleep, difficulty concentrating, or social isolation. Approximately half of providers also expressed significant concern about progression of cancer in patients who experienced care delays or were afraid of accessing in-person care. In terms of changes to survivorship care, respondents reported changes to visitor policies, delays or cancellations, and efforts to reduce in-person visits. CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 has taken a significant toll on front-line healthcare professionals, including oncologists and cancer care allied health professionals. Findings support proactive mental health support of healthcare professionals as well as emergency preparedness to manage delays to care for cancer patients in the event of future unexpected pandemics.