Are There Benefits to Awake Breast Cancer Surgery During COVID-19?

Breast cancer treatments took a backseat during the COVID-19 pandemic. People were grappling with a disease previously unheard of, and the stakes were high. A year after the pandemic hit, people are still not sure about the cure. 

In this madness, not many have been worrying about a breast cancer cure. With only social media to rely on, breast cancer awareness was also at a low. However, doctors all around the world have been busy reallocating resources. 

What does this mean for COVID-19 patients? Simply that many hospitals have reallocated resources previously allotted to other patients. For instance, awake breast cancer surgery.

The awake breast cancer surgery was used in Rome, Italy, in 2020 on some patients with the coronavirus. Remember that Italy went through one of the most traumatic experiences with Covid-19. Since people didn’t understand the disease, it spread rapidly throughout the country. By the time people were more aware, it was too late in Italy. Reallocating resources was perhaps one of their last resorts.

Aim of the study: can it reduce the length of stay?

Awake surgery is one of the treatments you can find across any breast cancer hospital in India. Chemotherapy for breast cancer patients is now available throughout the country – a sign of how far India has come in terms of medical developments. However, very few have considered using it as a strategy for coronavirus breast cancer (BC) patients.

The aim of using fast-track awake breast cancer surgery was to reduce the length of hospital stay for patients. The coronavirus at this point in time was spreading exponentially across borders. It led to a strain on hospitals, medical resources, and healthcare professionals. Doctors and research scientists were trying to find strategies that could reduce the hospital stay of patients. With so many people getting infected at the same time, there was a much higher demand for hospital beds.

The study: Italy studied the impact of BC surgery on Covid-19 patients

The process was simple – a total of 86 patients were treated with awake breast cancer surgery. They were divided into two groups – pre-Covid 19 and Covid-19 groups. These patients underwent surgery between 30th January 2020 and 30th March 2020. Pregnant females, the male sex, and those who underwent pure breast reconstruction procedures were exempted from this study.

The factors taken into account were age, body mass index or BMI, and medical and personal history of the patient. This included prior administration of Neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and length of stay. All patients had consented to being enrolled in the study.

The results: are there benefits of awake breast cancer surgery during Covid-19?

To conclude, are there any benefits to awake breast cancer surgery during covid-19? The answer is yes, as seen in the study. Its effect on the operative room time, surgical time, and length of stay is evident. It can be used for a wider range of oncological problems. 

As for Covid-19 breast cancer patients, the results showed that there were no complications. It was seen that there was no statistical difference in the rate of complications, clinical data, and the procedure of the surgery. It was also found that awake breast cancer surgery was one of the most frequently performed surgical procedures during the Covid-19 pandemic. The results showed a significant decrease in operating room time (ORT) and length of stay (LOS). 

How does it benefit those who are suffering from Covid-19? Well, doctors are on the hunt for any strategy that could quicken the procedure for Covid-19 patients. Since there is a major threat posed by the Delta variant of Covid-19, reducing the length of stay is very important.

The bottom line 

The unprecedented circumstances surrounding Covid-19 means that doctors will need to resort to reallocating resources. While there has been an improvement in recent months, there are too many elements of uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 virus. 

Healthcare professionals are doing their best to accommodate new patients in hospitals. So if there is a chance to accommodate more patients by reducing the LOS and ORT, it cannot be missed. By reducing the hospital bed days of patients, a hospital can meet more demands.

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