Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

In a research letter to the British Journal of Surgery (BJS) a team of plastic surgeons reveal the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on skin cancer surgery in the UK.

A doctor looks at the moles on someone's back

Abhilash Jain, Associate Professor of Plastic and Hand Surgery at NDORMS, was the senior author that conducted a multi-centre, prospective cohort study and survey of Plastic Surgeons. 

A national audit of skin cancer excisions by Plastic Surgeons was carried out throughout lockdown (March 16 – June 14 2020), and compared to a control - data collected immediately prior to lockdown (March 16 – 22 ) while normal NHS activities were still being undertaken. Data on 2050 patients from 32 Plastic Surgery units were included, as well as consecutive monthly surveys of Plastic Surgeons from 34 units to confirm trends. 

The study found that all skin cancer treatment was negatively affected by the pandemic:

  • The median number of general anaesthetic (GA) lists per week per institution fell from 3 pre-lockdown to 0⋅5 in April
  • Local anaesthetic (LA) lists were reduced in April and May but recovered in June.
  • The number of non-melanoma skin cancer’s (NMSC) treated per week fell by 27-47% throughout April
  • Excision of Squamous cell carcinomas (71%) was prioritised over basal cell carcinomas (28%) 

Abhilash said: “Overall we saw a lower number of surgeries for tumours taking place. At the same time there was a reduction in Moh’s surgery, radiotherapy services and fewer patients being offered immunotherapy. Long term the risk of untreated skin cancer may now be considered greater than COVID-19 and we would urge that all cancer services be resumed urgently.”

 

Similar stories

Clinical trial finds Azithromycin has no benefit against COVID-19

Main OCTRU

A clinical trial by University of Oxford researchers has confirmed that the antibiotic azithromycin has no clinical benefit in people with moderate COVID-19.

Study reveals the three most important aspects of care for hip fractures

Hip Main OCTRU Research Trauma

Older patients with hip fractures recover better if they receive treatment under the supervision of both a surgeon and a specialist in elderly care; are checked to avoid future falls; and are assessed for memory problems.

Major ERC funding awarded to Professor Michael Dustin

Awards Kennedy Main

Professor Michael Dustin and an international team of collaborators have been awarded a €10M grant from the European Research Council (ERC) to develop a new biotechnology around supramolecular attack particles (SMAPs) engineered to kill cancer cells.

The role of mAbs (neutralising monoclonal antibodies) in the fight against COVID-19

Main Research

Neutralising mAbs, a form of anti-viral medicine, are being explored as an attractive option to treat symptoms of COVID-19 and in some cases prevent infection. But what are the pros and cons of this type of treatment and what should regulators consider before granting approval?

Professor Michael Dustin elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Awards Kennedy Main

Recognised for his outstanding contributions to the field of immunology, Michael becomes the fourth Kennedy professor to be elected to the Academy.

Small mechanical forces in immune cells measured at unprecedented sensitivity

Kennedy Main Research

Oxford researchers have used advanced microscopy techniques to measure previously unseen forces generated by cells during an immune response; a breakthrough for mechanobiology and future advances in health and disease.