What your doctor is reading on Medscape.com:
MARCH 24, 2020 — Recommendations to help clinicians triage surgical procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic, developed quickly by a team of urology experts from around the world and shared last week, are already out of date.
“I would change some things we said a week ago,” said David Canes, MD, from Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, Massachusetts and Derry, New Hampshire, who was one of those experts.
“We now know it’s not possible to create a cookbook in the face of a rapidly evolving pandemic,” he told Medscape Medical News.
“It’s heartening that we could do it so fast, but now it’s a snapshot in time, a starting point. People have to have conversations locally, in their community, taking into account where they are in relation to a surge of COVID patients, to make good decisions,” Canes said.
Long-thought-out guidance can no longer come from societies. “As the pace of information changes so rapidly,” Canes said he has changed the way he disseminates information and searches for guidance. “I’m even looking to nontraditional channels, like Twitter.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, informal discussions on social media are helping specialists make decisions. “Threads about various cancers and how people are handling them are helpful,” he said.
He described, for example, a thoughtful discussion on the use of androgen-deprivation therapy, a hormone therapy that can block the effects of androgens and can slow the growth of prostate cancer. “This is not a standard-of-care treatment,” he said, but now it’s being discussed very seriously to treat patients whose care might get delayed.
A multiple-choice survey was posted on Twitter by Ashish Kamat, MD, MBBS, from the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, asking respondents what they would do for a patient with stage T2 high-grade muscle invasive bladder cancer and normal glomerular filtration during the pandemic.
In less than 20 hours, his post received 290 votes in response.
And when Badar Mian, MD, from the Albany Medical Center in New York, asked 23 urologists whether they would recommend radiotherapy (20 fractions) without any chemotherapy, he quickly got two responses: one yes and one no, with explanations.