Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Canadian Radiation Oncology Practices

Corinne M. Doll, Daniel V. Wakefield, Jolie Ringash, Paris Ann Ingledew, Laura A. Dawson, Thomas Eichler, David L. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To survey Canadian radiation oncology (RO) practice leaders to determine the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on radiation services and patient and staff issues in the early phase of the pandemic and 1 year later. Methods and Materials: The RO leader (department or division head) from every Canadian cancer center with radiation services was identified. Two surveys were circulated to the identified leader via email from the Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology central office, using the SurveyMonkey survey tool: the first closed in June 2020 and the second (expanded) survey in June 2021, representing 2 points in time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Questions included patient volume, service interruptions and delays, and changes in scheduling and telemedicine use. Additional questions were included in the follow-up survey to determine further effects on disease presentation, volume, vaccination and access, and personnel issues. Results: Telemedicine was widely adopted early in the pandemic and continued to be a common technique to communicate and connect with patients. Although many centers were deferring or delaying certain disease sites early in the pandemic, this was not as prevalent 1 year later. Reduced cancer screening and patients presenting with more advanced disease were concerns documented in the 2021 survey. A high level of concern regarding stress among health care professionals was identified. Conclusions: Canadian RO centers have faced numerous challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic but continued to provide timely and essential cancer care for patients with cancer. Future evaluation of RO center practices will be important to continue to document and address the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on issues relevant to RO leaders, patients, and staff.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-517
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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