Newswise — Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC) will be presenting its research on the impact of COVID-19 on the colorectal cancer community during the 2021 Gastrointestinal Cancer Symposium, a global virtual conference, on January 15-17. The online study was conducted through a survey and virtual focus groups with the colorectal cancer (CRC) community to gather qualitative data about cancer patients’ experiences during the novel coronavirus pandemic in the spring of 2020. 

Treatment disruptions and mental health concerns emerged as prevalent themes in both the survey and focus groups. Over one-third of survey respondents indicated facing treatment disruptions due to COVID-19, and a majority of colorectal cancer patients reported feeling nervous and anxious. Another primary concern among respondents was access to care. Respondents living in rural areas were more likely to have greater concerns about maintaining a supportive network than those living in suburban areas. 

“Our research underscores the need to address the various health inequities that exist among low income and rural populations, and the importance of understanding the nuanced needs of the colorectal cancer community,” said Anjee Davis, president of Fight CRC. “Clinicians, supportive care providers, and advocacy organizations need to be tailoring care delivery, increasing access to care, and preparing patients for the future with reliable and accurate resources amidst a pandemic.”

The research has become an invaluable resource, helping Fight CRC understand the landscape of what facing colorectal cancer in the time of COVID-19 means. As the organization rallies relentless champions of hope from all over the country, these findings will continue to inform conversations amongst advocacy organizations as well as amongst those offering clinical and supportive care.

To read the abstract titled, “Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 on the Colorectal Cancer Community: Barriers and Opportunities for Care,” visit the American Society of Clinical Oncology Library. To attend the free Gastrointestinal Cancer Symposium register here and follow Fight CRC on Twitter at @FightCRC and the hashtag #GI21 for up-to-date symposium updates and news. 

Meeting Link: 2021 Gastrointestinal Cancer Symposium Other Link: Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 on the Colorectal Cancer Community: Barriers and Opportunities for Care