COVID-19 and Cancer

BSMO has prepared useful materials to support oncology professionals in their delivery of quality cancer care.

Message from the BSMO

Dear colleagues,

We are facing difficult times for everybody, not in the least for health care providers and cancer patients.
As professional organization, the BSMO wants to update you on the way most of us deal with the crisis. Of course, local hospital rules and regulations from the government have to be followed. In general, in a lot of hospitals, the care for cancer patients goes on.

We recommend:

  • reduce the number of patient contacts in your hospital by performing TELE consultations f.i. for patients in follow up of their disease or for patients under oral treatment // or postpone consultations with several months if feasible
  • decide in a critical way on the need for an IV administration these days in the day clinic
  • decide in a critical way on the need for the start of a new cancer treatment (could it be postponed voor several months?)
  • in general one could state: if an appointment/investigation/treatment could not wait for a period of 12 weeks because not safe for patients health : contacts should go on as preplanned -check incoming patients and eventual visitors in your day clinic for viral symptoms so that you are able to catch probable infected patients in time
  • adjuvant-neoadjuvant therapy: guidelines should be followed although adjustments of scheduling can be considered on individual patient characteristics (shorten therapy, f.e 9 instead of 12 cycli Paclitaxel)
  • in general better to avoid or taper use of steroids if possible

For clinical trials:
Ongoing trials could be continued, in some oncology departments new patients are still included in running trials. We do not recommend to initiate new trials nowadays. Monitors are not allowed anymore to visit the hospitals.

Sylvie Rottey and BSMO board

Information and articles (see below)

The section ‘most recent’ covers the last  publications. The section ‘literature’ is an overview of all articles published at this page. All links are dated (this is the date of publication on this page).

Most recent articles

29/9/2020 || COVID-19 and cancer – Project part I
The BSMO in collaboration with sciensano published this nationwide population based anaysis of patients with COVID-19 and solid cancer in Belgium: In this population-based nationwide cohort study, we observed that hospitalised patients with solid cancer and COVID-19 were older and presented with fewer symptoms/signs and lung imaging alterations compared with patients without cancer. Moreover, hospitalised patients with solid cancer had a 34% higher chance of dying within 30 days of COVID-19 diagnosis compared with patients without cancer. This adverse prognostic effect was more pronounced among patients <60 years and/or those without other comorbidities.

Full information is available at ESMOopen

10/06/2020 || Session Live – COVID-19 and cancer (NL  / FR)


ESMO portal on COVID-19 and cancer
ACSO COVID-19 Patient Care Information
Medscape Novel Coronavirus
Cancer Consortium COVID19 registry
COVID Ready Communication Playbook
COVID-ready communication skills (ENG, NL, FR)

17/04/2020 || ESMO COVID Palliative Care Pathway 
09/04/2020 || 
09/04/2020 || Managing cancer during a pandemic
09/04/2020 || Cancer, COVID-19 and the precautionary principle: prioritizing treatment during a global pandemic
06/04/2020 || Coronavirus Outbreak
06/04/2020 || Controversies about COVID-19 and treatment with ICI
04/04/2020 || Recent one page timeline on important literature updates
03/04/2020 || How we treat patients with lung cancer during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic: primum non nocere
02/04/2020 || Viral Spread of SARS-CoV-2, Rationing Resources, “Evidence Fiasco”, & Classical Hematology Chat 
31/03/2020 || Guidelines for melanoma treatment during COVID-19 pandemic
30/03/2020 || Cancer care during the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Italy: young oncologists’ perspective
27/03/2020 || A War on Two Fronts: Cancer Care in the Time of COVID-19: overview on cancer care in the time of covid-19
27/03/2020 || OncoAlert Round Table Discussions: The Global COVID19 Experience
27/03/2020 || Letter from MOCA Antwerp
26/03/2020 || Clinical characteristics of COVID-19-infected cancer patients: A retrospective case study in three hospitals within Wuhan, China
26/03/2020 || ICU Management of COVID-19 with Dr. Benjamin Singer
25/03/2020 || The official French guidelines to protect patients with cancer against SARS-CoV-2 infection
25/03/2020 || The Blind Leading the Blind: COVID-19, Cancer, and the Need for More Data
24/03/2020 || Recommendations for breast cancer patients treated at Institut Jules Bordet 
23/03/2020 || Cancer care in the time of COVID-19
22/03/2020 || ICU one-pager on COVID-19 (ENG, NL, FR)
19/03/2020 || The Treatment of Patients With Cancer and Containment of COVID-19: Experiences From Italy
18/03/2020 || OncoAlert Round Table The Italian COVID19 Experience
18/03/2020 || Publications coronavirus
18/03/2020 || The impact of coronavirus on oncological care
18/03/2020 || Corona Table (JPEG)
18/03/2020 || Estimating the risks from COVID-19 infection in adults chemotherapy patients
17/03/2020 || Het Corona virus en kanker (
15/03/2020 || JNCCN Special Feature