Head and neck cancer radiotherapy amid COVID-19 pandemic: Report from Milan, Italy
Background: Management of head and neck cancers (HNC) in Radiation Oncology in the COVID-19 era is challenging. Aim of our work is to report organization strategies at a Radiation Therapy (RT) Department in the first European area experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: We focused on 1) dedicated procedures for HNC, 2) radiation treatment scheduling and 3) healthcare professionals’ protection applied during the Covid-19 breakdown (from 1st March to 30th April 2020). Results: Applied procedures are reported and discussed. Forty-three pts were treated. Image-guided, Intensity Modulated RT was performed in all cases. Median overall treatment time (OTT) was 50 (IQR: 47-54.25) days. RT was interrupted/delayed in seven pts (16%) for suspected COVID-19 infection. Two health professionals managing HNC pts were proven as COVID-19 positive. Conclusion: Adequate and well-timed organization allowed for the optimization of HNC pts balancing at the best of our possibilities pts’ care and personnel’s safety.