Tan Tock Seng Hospital1
The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating ramifications on healthcare delivery and a multitude of impacts on patients’ care and outcomes. For patients suffering from a highly heterogeneous and aggressive malignancy like hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), this pandemic only intensifies therapeutic efforts’ complexity.
This review article concentrates on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the loco-regional delivery of treatment for patients with HCC.
As the influence of HCC tumor burden on hepatic dysfunction, COVID-19 has also been shown to cause liver damage. Additionally, pre-existing liver dysfunction is also associated with increased susceptibility to the virus. While many notable organizations concur that treatment of HCC should mirror that of the pre-pandemic era given the tumour’s highly-malignant nature, recognition of logistical limitations and flexibility for deviation from standard practices are needed during this pandemic. This pandemic has also accelerated novel efforts by physicians in the provision of loco-regional therapies for HCC patients, from the incorporation of new technologies like pre-procedural telemedicine to logistical initiatives such as the same-day Y90 radioembolization. Beyond the hospital, the COVID-19 pandemic also has far-reaching impacts on the procurement of medical supplies and patient psychology.
In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic presents profound challenges to the loco-regional delivery of treatment to HCC patients. Healthcare institutions have to tailor treatment efforts to their current situations.