Effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on surgical oncology practice—Results of an SSO survey

Yelizaveta Gribkova, Catherine H. Davis, Alissa A. Greenbaum, Shou en Lu, Adam C. Berger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: The COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected healthcare delivery, shifting focus away from nonurgent care. The aim of this study was to examine the impact of the pandemic on the practice of surgical oncology. Methods: A web-based survey of questions about changes in practice during the COVID-19 pandemic was approved by the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO) Research and Executive Committees and sent by SSO to its members. Results: A total of 121 SSO members completed the survey, 77.7% (94/121) of whom were based in the United States. Breast surgeons were more likely than their peers to refer patients to neoadjuvant therapy (p = 0.000171). Head and neck surgeons were more likely to refer patients to definitive nonoperative treatment (p = 0.044), while melanoma surgeons were less likely to do so (p = 0.029). In all, 79.2% (95/120) of respondents are currently using telemedicine. US surgeons were more likely to use telemedicine (p = 0.004). Surgeons believed telemedicine is useful for long-term/surveillance visits (70.2%, 80/114) but inappropriate (50.4%, 57/113) for new patient visits. Conclusion: COVID-19 pandemic resulted in increased use of neoadjuvant therapy, delays in operative procedures, and increased use of telemedicine. Telemedicine is perceived to be most efficacious for long-term/surveillance visits or postoperative visits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1191-1199
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jun 15 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


  • COVID-19
  • multidisciplinary care
  • surgical oncology
  • telemedicine


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