The McGill Task Force on the Impact of COVID‑19 on Cancer Control and Care: Generating Evidence and Developing Strategies to Mitigate Future Cancer Risk for Canadians
The COVID‑19 pandemic caused major disruptions to cancer control and care services in Canada. Patients with cancer are at a particularly high risk of negative outcomes from delays in diagnosis and treatment. Our objective is to examine the impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic on cancer prevention and care in Canada, and estimate its long-term impacts on cancer mortality and socioeconomic health inequalities. For this research project, we will: 1. Estimate at the population level the short- and long- term impacts of the pandemic on site-specific adult cancer care trajectories using Quebec administrative health databases. We will use medical claims, hospital records, and death registry data for approximately 1,000,000 cancer patients diagnosed between 2010-2026 to assess the impact of the pandemic on cancer incidence, treatment pathways, and cancer survival in adults. 2. Expand a decision model of cancer epidemiology in Canada to include data on cancer incidence and mortality by socioeconomic status and ethnic identity. We will use this model to predict the long-term impacts of the pandemic on cancer health inequalities in Canada. 3. Update our review of Canadian cancer-related clinical practice guidelines to include pandemic recovery efforts across the cancer care system. Previously, we found that the cancer care system had quickly responded to the first pandemic wave by publishing guidelines for cancer treatment and prioritization during the pandemic. For this update, we will specially focus on how the healthcare system has implemented recovery efforts across the cancer care spectrum, including resumption of cancer screening and preventive services. Our research will provide quick evidence needed to inform cancer care recovery efforts in Canada, and assess whether directives put in place to protect cancer care delivery during the pandemic have been effective at mitigating long-term negative impacts on cancer outcomes.