Oncology Treatments during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Israel: The ONCOR Study

Galit Hirsh-Yechezkel, Angela Chetrit, Sivan Ben Avraham, Abed Agbarya, Alexander Yakobson, Noam Asna, Gil Bar-Sela, Irit Ben-Aharon, Noa Efrat Ben-Baruch, Raanan Berger, Ronen Brenner, Maya Gottfried, Shani Paluch-Shimon, Raphael Pfeffer, Aran Popovtzer, Larisa Ryvo, Valeriya Semenisty, Ayelet Shai, Katerina Shulman, Jamal ZidanIdo Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: The increased susceptibility of cancer patients to coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) infections and complications calls for special precautions while treating cancer patients during COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, oncology departments have had to implement a wide array of prevention measures. Objectives: To address issues associated with cancer care during the COVID-19 pandemic and to assess the implementation of measures aimed at containment of COVID-19 diffusion while allowing continuation of quality cancer care. Methods: A national survey among oncology departments in Israel was conducted between 12 April 2020 and 14 April 2020. Eighteen heads of hospital-based oncology departments completed a self-report questionnaire regarding their institute's preparedness for treatment of cancer patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Results: In this national survey, prevention measures against COVID-19 spread were taken prior to patients' arrival and at arrival or while staying in the departments. Most participants (78-89%) reported using a quick triage of patients and caregivers prior to their entrance to the oncology units, limiting the entrance of caregivers, and reducing unnecessary visits to the clinic. Switching to oral therapies rather than intravenous ones when possible was considered by 82% and shortage in personal protective equipment was reported by five (28%) heads of oncology departments. Some differences between large and small/ medium sized medical centers were observed regarding issues related to COVID-19 containment measures and changes in treatment. Conclusions: Oncology departments in Israel were able to prepare and adapt their services to guidelines and requirements related to the COVID-19 pandemic with little harm to their treatment capacity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-765
Number of pages7
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Israel Medical Association. All rights reserved.


  • Cancer and COVID-19
  • Cancer patient management
  • Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19)
  • Oncologic treatment
  • Preparation of healthcare system


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