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This was a retrospective analysis of 11,848 patients who had surgery for a stage T2 renal mass. The researchers looked at the effect of a delay in surgery on overall survival. This study was conducted before the coronavirus pandemic between 2004 and 2015.
A delay in surgery between 5 to 6 months resulted in worse survival compared with patients who had surgery within 2 months of diagnosis. However, a delay in surgery of 3 to 4 months did not worsen survival in patients who did not have any other co-morbidities and were in general good health. There was no association between the stage of the cancer and the delay in surgery.
These data are particularly relevant in the current pandemic where medical care has often been delayed. However, it should be noted that patients who experienced a longer surgical delay tended to be older and less healthy in this study, making the comparison with the delayed surgery experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic unclear. Further studies are needed before we can definitively say that a delay in surgery affects survival and doctors should continue to rely on guidelines supported by robust evidence for up-to-date COVID-19 pandemic care recommendations. However, this study may be useful to help doctors and patients assess the risk of surgical delay exposure to coronavirus during the COVID-19 pandemic.