Practical general principles related to the care of children and adolescents with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a call for participation in a global registry documenting the course and management of COVID-19 in these patients, have been released on behalf of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP).1

Given the paucity of data regarding the impact of COVID-19 in the setting of pediatric cancer, the SIOP has published general recommendations to facilitate the prevention and management of COVID-19 in this population.

These general principles are focused on overarching COVID-19 prevention and management approaches for application in the setting of pediatric oncology that emphasized the following:

  • Use of COVID-19 testing to screen all patients with symptoms of COVID-19
  • Use of personal protective equipment (PPE) by health care providers
  • Use of home-based patient monitoring, limit face-to-face outpatient health care visits, and conduct health care visits by telephone or computer, when possible
  • Provide scheduled care in an isolated setting (eg, a single occupancy hospital room) for those patients undergoing active cancer treatment that cannot be delayed, with patient confinement at home between treatments
  • Create “COVID-19–free” environments for those patients admitted to the hospital for cancer treatment
  • Limit access to hospital wards and outpatient clinics to one parent only

In addition to encouraging providers to refer only to COVID-19–related resources from established health authorities, the authors of this document urged clinicians to share de-identified data on their patients who are younger than 19 years and have cancer or have previously undergone hematopoietic stem cell transplantation through participation in an open, international registry made possible through a collaboration between St Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the SIOP.2


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The specific aim of the St Jude Global COVID-19 and Childhood Cancer Registry as described on the registry website is to “provide updates to the global pediatric cancer community and leverage the data to support community-initiated online case discussions.”2

“The success of this initiative depends on our collective voluntary participation as a global community so that the most children benefit from our evolving, shared knowledge of the pandemic,” it was noted.2

An associated website that includes links to a number of COVID-19–related resources is also available.3

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“As more information is available, it may be pertinent to create an international task force to provide evidence‐based consensus recommendations,” the authors noted.1

References

1. Bouffet E, Challinor J, Sullivan M, Biondi A, Rodriguez-Galindo C, Pritchard-Jones K. Early advice on managing children with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic and a call for sharing experiences [published online April 2, 2020]. Pediatr Blood Cancer. doi: 10.1002/pbc.28327

2. St. Jude Research Children’s Hospital, International Society of Paediatric Oncology. COVID-19 and Childhood Cancer Registry. St. Jude Global. Accessed May 12, 2020. https://global.stjude.org/en-us/global-covid-19-observatory-and-resource-center-for-childhood-cancer/registry.html

3. COVID-19 resources and guidance. International Society of Pediatric Oncology (SIOP). Accessed May 12, 2020. https://siop-online.org/covid-19-resources-and-guidance/

This article originally appeared on Oncology Nurse Advisor