UP-92 The impact of COVID-19 lockdown on prostate cancer investigations - an Australian experience
Thursday June 27, 2019 from

Sean Ong, Australia

Urology research fellow


EJ Whitten Prostate Cancer Research Centre


The impact of COVID-19 lockdown on prostate cancer investigations - An Australian experience

Sean Ong1,2, Dominic Bagguley1,2, Declan Murphy1,2, Nathan L. Lawrentschuk1,2.

1EJ Whitten Prostate Cancer Research Centre, Epworth HealthCare, Melbourne, Australia; 2Division of Surgery, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia

Epworth Medical Foundation.

Introduction: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a gradual and measured lockdown occurred in Australia from March 2020 and tightened in April 2020. This included both social restrictions as well as restrictions to elective surgical procedures in an effort to both mitigate and prepare for spread of the virus. The state of Victoria having undergone a second lockdown whilst the remainder of Australia normalised enables a unique comparison between relatively closely matched populations and healthcare systems. Serum PSA, prostate MRI, and prostate biopsy are key investigations into prostate cancer. We hypothesized that investigations for prostate cancer diagnosis and surveillance would be decreased as a result of COVID-19 social and clinical restrictions.

Methods: Medicare Item Reports were obtained from publicly listed sources for all PSAs, MRIs and prostate biopsies in Australia from October 2019 to September 2020. Trends were observed and comparisons made to the previous year.

Results: The 6-month average of PSA tests performed in Australia between October 2019 and March 2020 was 143,568. In April 2020 that number dropped to 96,479, a 32.80% decrease. A similar decline was noted in the number of mpMRIs performed in April 2020, with 2,806 scans performed compared to the average 3,696 over the preceding four months, a 24.08% reduction. Prostate biopsy numbers followed a similar trend, falling from a national 6-month average of 1,924 to 1,496, a 22.25% decrease. Across the country, recovery was generally seen in the number of PSAs, mpMRIs and prostate from May 2020 onwards with the exception of Victoria which continued to struggle with ongoing COVID-19 cases and their related restrictions.

Conclusions: This data shows a decrease in prostate cancer screening and surveillance throughout the COVID-19 lockdown in Australia. Further correlation with prostate cancer registries is needed to predict the "catch up" that is needed for delayed and missed diagnoses.

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