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Clinicians Share Urgent Needs of Brain Cancer Patients during COVID-19 Pandemic

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Nimish Mohile, M.D.

Nimish Mohile, M.D., a neuro-oncologist at the Wilmot Cancer Institute, led an international team of clinicians to publish guidelines for treating adults with brain cancer during the coronavirus pandemic.

The multidisciplinary scientific team, for example, addressed: making decisions about prioritizing and deferring therapies; modifying clinical trial protocols; quick adoption of technologies that enable remote visits and online tumor boards when appropriate; and the opportunity for clear and in-depth conversations between doctors and patients about goals of treatment and how best to achieve the goals.

As a terminal illness, brain cancer poses a number of risks and urgent decision-making questions that are unique compared to some other cancers. All current and surviving cancer patients are at a higher risk of death from coronavirus, and yet there may be special concerns for patients with rapidly growing tumors such as glioblastoma.

The Society for Neuro-Oncology published the guidelines, which also call for education to help patients avoid infection given their exceptional risk.

“As a profession, we are used to complexity, uncertainty and tragedy- and the resilience we have developed from the care of our patients will serve us well,” the article concluded.

Mohile is the Ann Aresty Camhi Professor of Neurology at the University of Rochester Medical Center. His research focuses on developing new therapies for glioblastoma, which has a median survival time of 15 to 16 months, and strategies to improve quality of life for patients with brain tumors.

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