The Management of Children with Cancer during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Rapid Review
Department of Onco Haematology and Cell and Gene Therapy, Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital, IRCCS, 00165 Rome, Italy
Department of Paediatric Emergency, Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital, IRCCS, 00165 Rome, Italy
Professional Development, Continuing Education and Nursing Research Service, Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital, IRCCS, 00165 Rome, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(11), 3756; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9113756
Received: 12 November 2020 / Revised: 18 November 2020 / Accepted: 19 November 2020 / Published: 21 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic: Current Knowledge and Future Perspectives)
Despite the fact that cancer patients seem to be at a higher risk of being infected with SARS-CoV-2, limited data are available in the pediatric oncology setting. A systematic rapid review was conducted to analyze scientific literature regarding the management, interventions, and strategies adopted to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the pediatric cancer population. Our search on PubMed, Scopus, Cochrane, and EMBASE databases yielded 505 articles. After removing duplicates, 21 articles were included. Articles focused on infection prevention (n = 19; 90.5%), management (n = 18; 85.7%), overall management of specific treatments for cancer (n = 13; 61.9%), and education (n = 7; 33.3%). The interventions adopted to prevent the spread of COVID-19 were similar across organizations and in line with general recommendations. Most of them reported interventions that could be used as valid strategies for similar emergencies. The strategies included limiting the risk of contagion by restricting access to the wards and implementing hygiene measures, the identification of separate pathways for the management of patients suspected or confirmed to be infected with COVID-19, the postponement of people accessing the hospital for non-urgent or unnecessary tests or medical examinations, and the preventive screening of patients before chemotherapy treatment or transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells. It is necessary to identify key indicators in order to better evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions implemented over time. A summary of the recommendations is provided.