UP-94 The surgical management of prostate cancer during COVID-19 lockdown in Australia
Thursday June 27, 2019 from

Sean Ong, Australia

Urology research fellow


EJ Whitten Prostate Cancer Research Centre


The surgical management of prostate cancer during COVID-19 lockdown in Australia

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

Introduction: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a lockdown occurred in Australia beginning in March 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. Radical prostatectomy (RP) represents the gold-standard surgical approach for localised prostate cancer. Generally, it booked as a Category 1 procedure and should be performed within 30-days. As such, we hypothesize that the number of RPs performed was minimally affected by the COVID-19 lockdown.

Methods: Medicare Item Reports were obtained from publicly listed sources for all prostatectomies in Australia from October 2019 to September 2020. Trends were observed and comparisons made to the same month the previous year.

Results: The 6-month average of RPs performed in Australia between October 2019 and March 2020 was 612. In April 2020 that number dropped to 528, a 13.73% decrease. The following 5-month average (May-Sept) returned to 638 across Australia representing an increase over the same period the previous year of 10.91%. Within this 5-month period, Victoria endured a second lockdown as a result of ongoing COVID-9 community transmission. It’s 5-month average for number of RPs performed per month was 127 representing a percentage decrease of 12.40% on the previous year.

Conclusions: This data indicates minimal impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the volume of rRPs performed in Australia, but Victoria with its second lockdown appears to have been affected moreso. Of course this only represents the short-term impact of these restrictions on the management of prostate cancer, with the long-term impact of under investigation and diagnosis likely yet to be reflected in the data.

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