During the COVID-19 pandemic, rapid access two week wait colorectal cancer referrals will continue. Changes to our usual methods of managing these patients will have to be made because:
- Only therapeutic emergency endoscopy is being carried out given the risks of aerosol generating procedures (AGP).
- Colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy and rigid sigmoidoscopy are currently classified as procedures that may be deferred during the pandemic. The BSG-CAG guidance on endoscopy
- Use of virtual colonoscopy (CT colonography) should also stop unless there is explicit local agreement amongst all relevant stakeholders that capacity exists to continue a reduced service. There will undoubtedly be increased demand for diagnostic and screening CT scanning for patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection. The British Society of Gastrointestinal and Abdominal Radiology advice
- Hospital footfall increases the risk of contracting COVID-19 infection, with the biggest risk of associated mortality applying to older and/or comorbid patients.
- Many patients with newly diagnosed colorectal cancer may have treatment deferred until healthcare resources recover, unless they develop complications requiring emergency admission