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Perspective

A/Prof Zee Wan Wong, Head of Oncology, Peninsula Health

Co-Clinical Director, Southern Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service; Co-Chair Victorian COVID-19 Cancer Network (VCCN) Taskforce.

A/Prof Zee Wan Wong, Head of Oncology, Peninsula Health

“There is a cause for concern that patients will present with more advanced disease and we could see a surge of those previously undiagnosed cases.”

In March 2020, the VCCN was established in response to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic on the care of cancer patients by the VCCC alliance and Monash Partners Comprehensive Cancer Consortium (MPCCC).

The network has shared knowledge and experience on the management of cancers amongst health professional and consumers and provided forums for discussion, support and advocacy, The impact of people not accessing services like cancer screening early on during lockdowns, rapid uptake of telehealth, vaccination uptake and guidelines and cancer workforce shortages are amongst the most discussed themes.

The reduction in cancer notifications and the consequent undiagnosed cancer cases presented by the Victorian Cancer Registry at the VCCN Taskforce meetings prompted the widespread ‘Don’t Delay’ campaign, urging Victorians with any concerning symptoms to present to their GPs. “

“Where are these undiagnosed patients?” A/Prof Wong asked. “They may present very late or with more complex clinical circumstances that could potentially make their care more complicated or have poorer outcomes,” A/Prof Wong said.