COVID-19 and cancer
Our world-leading expertise in modelling and analysis means our research team is uniquely placed to provide prioritised, independent advice – critically important in a health crisis and anticipated recovery. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have urgently enhanced the Pathways to a cancer free future program to help address the acute challenges health systems face in the ‘secondary’ impact of the crisis on cancer. This work includes:
Modelling the impact of COVID-19 on cancer
Professor Karen Canfell is co-leading the COVID-19 and Cancer Global Modelling Consortium supported by peak international health organisations including the Union for International Cancer Control and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The consortium has been developed to support decision-making in cancer control both during the pandemic and in recovery. The work will include three key themes of work: impact of COVID-19 infections and cancer treatment delays on cancer outcomes and healthcare systems; the impact on cancer screening and recovery strategies; and the impact on long-term cancer risk and recovery prevention strategies.
Understanding the psychosocial impacts on cancer patients and health workers
In an Australia-wide study, our researchers are investigating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people affected by cancer and healthcare workers in cancer services. The team are analyising results of surveys of people affected by cancer (current and past cancer patients, carers and family members of someone with cancer) and healthcare workers conducted during the pandemic.
Identifying the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on cancer risk
COVID-19 and the associated lockdown may have led to increases in behaviours known to increase cancer risk, such as poor diet, sedentary behaviour and alcohol consumption. The crisis has also diverted community focus from important public health education programs to reduce smoking and improve sun protection. Our researchers are collating data on the changes to behaviours to support analysis of COVID-19 as a direct risk factor for cancer and model the potential impact of recovery strategies for prevention campaigns after crisis passes.