May 12, 2020

19 weeks ago we had not heard anything at all about the coronavirus disease COVID-19.  Now, as governments and communities fight to contain the pandemic, lockdown and quarantine are still restricting access to cancer care.

In the cancer community we are witnessing the cancellation of cancer screening services, clinical trials and research projects are on hold, university campuses are closed, conferences are being postponed and many cancer organisations are facing up to an as yet unknown financial impact of the crisis. Most importantly, we are asking what does COVID-19 mean for patients with cancer, recognising the increased risk of covid-19 infection as well as impact of treatment delays? And what is both the short and longer term impact on our oncology workforce?

We know that these answers must come from the cancer community. We welcome a new taskforce to unify our response, improve linkage to the infectious disease community and other initiatives such as that of WHO.

The Covid-19 and Cancer Taskforce calls for coordinated action of cancer experts with the aim of working together to collate data and lessons learnt rapidly to support the community response in the immediate term as well as helping share recovery strategies. 

The Taskforce has identified three priorities for action:

  1. Assess and report on the direct Risk of Covid-19 to Cancer Patients
    First high level survey closes on the 15th May.
  2. Modelling the indirect Impact; Recovery and Mitigation as a new global modelling consortium
    Secretariat email:
  3. Assess and report on the direct impact on oncology health workers as the pandemic progresses
    A package of materials is available:

Other key issues include: Research, New Practices, Economic Impact Assessment, Inequalities

If your organisation would like to get involved, please contact: or contact a taskforce member.

Covid-19 and Cancer intelligence hub, hosted by ecancer: Rapid reports are critical for getting data in the public domain in these unprecedented times. The intelligence hub seeks to pull all relevant literature into one place, we encourage you to contribute. 

For more resources related to Covid-19 and cancer click here.