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Cancer and covid 19

Covid-19 and cancer patients

Study reveals the impact of COVID-19 on the care of cancer patients in Mexico and Latin America

The COVID-19 pandemic has compromised health systems in Mexico and Latin America, wreaking havoc on their ability to care for patients with pathologies and non-communicable diseases, such as cancer.

For this reason, Roche, a leading personalized health company and one of the world's largest biotech companies, together with medical experts, and other organizations including the Americas Health Foundation, the EY-Parthenon team, and the Catalyst Consulting Group, developed the study. : The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer care in Latin America.

Some data on the impact of Covid-19 on cancer patients:

  • More than 90% of the doctors surveyed expect an overload of cancer patients after the pandemic.
  • Among the main findings, the study indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the provision of health services, and the economic capacity of the countries of the region to respond to cancer care.
  • In Mexico, 67% of respondents from patient organizations reported that people with cancer have experienced delays in obtaining treatment and health care.


Currently, cancer is the second cause of death in Latin America, with more than 700 thousand deaths registered in 2020. In the case of n Mexico, more than 90 thousand deaths were registered during the same year, according to the National Institute of Geography and Statistics (INEGI). It should be noted that the death rate increased during the last decade, going from 6.18 deaths per 10 people in 2010 to 7.17 per 10 people in 2020, which reflects the importance of the economic impact on society and on health systems. Health.

What studies reveal about the impact of Covid-19 on cancer patients...

According to the Roche-led survey, in the case of Mexico, it had a significant impact on health care, with 67% of patient organization respondents reporting that people with cancer experienced delays in obtaining treatment and health care, and 15% reported that patients were unable to receive their treatments.
Another aspect evaluated indicates that in our country there were delays in surgeries in 74%, diagnoses in 60% and chemotherapies in 65%. In the latter case, chemotherapy interruptions were common according to the doctors surveyed, with 76%, while more than 10% of their patients missed at least one cycle or appointment.
“The results of the study revealed the great challenges that we had been closely analyzing before the pandemic. However, the burden that our care networks have had to face in the last two years has reinforced the need to act now to strengthen our health systems and enable them to provide the necessary care for all patients, even in health emergency situations. ”, stated Rolf Hoenger, Area Head, Roche Pharma for Latin America.
The study evaluated the impact of the pandemic on 18 key variables linked to cancer care in 11 countries in the region, through perception surveys with patient organizations, medical professionals from cancer centers and a mathematical model to estimate the economic impact of the pandemic in terms of cancer care.

Covid 19 and women suffering from Cancer have also been impacted.

The report also highlights the repercussions that the pandemic had on women's health in the region, and further reinforces the existing gender inequality in health. Nearly 96% of physicians surveyed cited a specific reduction in the number of screening mammograms, which are key to detecting breast cancer. breast cancer in its earliest and most curable stage.
In terms of the economic burden that this generates, breast cancer represents a cost of 3.900 billion dollars, approximately 50% of the total estimated economic impact
Dr. Mariana Rico, medical director of the Americas Health Foundation and author of the study, emphasized that, “The fragmented care of cancer patients has been a recurring problem in Latin America, in contrast to the contemporary standard of care. cancer care that includes a coordinated approach with multidisciplinary teams. The pandemic, among all the challenges it brought, also aggravated this fragmentation, resulting in poorly timed care and often suboptimal quality.”

The optimization of medical resources is the answer to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 in cancer patients.

Along with the findings, the study highlights the following measures to be implemented to strengthen health systems and improve their response capacity: Governments must recognize and understand the burden generated by the pandemic in cancer care to implement comprehensive strategies to mitigate this impact. And, consequently, prioritizing early detection, promoting the consumption of healthy foods against cancer and timely access to treatment, as well as avoiding treatment interruptions for all types of cancer to reduce the mortality rate and mitigate the economic impact. This will only be achieved if work is done on an optimal distribution of resources in the region by optimizing existing capacities and resorting to technology to take advantage of the use of data and telemedicine.
Through this collaboration between medical experts, civil society organizations and Roche, this study aims to contribute to the efforts of governments and health systems in the region to identify integrated solutions to each challenge, in order to be better prepared for any crisis or emergency such as this pandemic.


About Roche
Roche is an international company, pioneering the research and development of medicines and diagnostics to advance science and improve people's lives. The combined power of pharmaceutical-diagnostic integration under one roof has made Roche the leader in personalized medicine, a strategy focused on providing each patient with the best possible treatment.

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