Pat A. Basu, MD, MBA, on Continuing Cancer Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic

July 9, 2020

The president and CEO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America highlighted the importance in caring for patients with cancer even in the midst of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

In an interview with CancerNetwork®, Pat A. Basu, MD, MBA, president and CEO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America, discussed the lasting impacts of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on cancer care.

More specifically, Basu spoke about what he refers to as the “shadow curve,” which he describes as the number of diseases and medical conditions that are being disrupted and not being treated while the American healthcare system has essentially been halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s almost like a tidal wave that’s kind of building in the background,” said Basu. “Just with the direct lack of screening and diagnoses, it’s been estimated already that potentially over 100,000 cancer cases have been missed.” 

As cases continue to spike across the US, and as they are predicted to spike again later on in 2020, Basu indicated that we have to operate under the guidance that we are going to have further spikes of the virus in the future and determine the best ways to continue treating patients with cancer. However, he also noted that discontinuing the treatment and care of patients with cancer is not an option.

“Unfortunately, pandemics are here to stay, so there are going to be other viruses in 2021 and 2022, so we have to just take that as a fact,” Basu explained. “We [also] have to establish the reality that we’re not going to forget our cancer patients, we’re not going to turn our back on our cancer patients, we’re not going to make it a choice between COVID and cancer, but rather we’re going to make it an ‘and;’ we have to treat both.”

Importantly, Basu suggested that there needs to be much better state and national operational readiness moving forward. In addition, he highlighted the need for better regulatory preparedness, as well as enhanced technology services such as telehealth.

“All of those things in 2020 the modern healthcare system should be able to deliver,” said Basu. 

This segment comes from the CancerNetwork® portion of the MJH Life Sciences National Broadcast, airing daily on all MJH Life Sciences channels.