European Journal of Dermatology


Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on care of melanoma patients in Berlin, Germany: the Mela-COVID survey Ahead of print


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1 Department of Dermatology and Phlebology, Vivantes Klinikum im Friedrichshain, Landsberger Allee 49, 10249 Berlin, Germany
2 Faculty of Medicine, Charité University Medicine Berlin, Charitéplatz 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany
3 Mannheim Institute of Public Health, Social and Preventive Medicine, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Ludolf-Krehl-Str. 7-11, 68167 Mannheim, Germany
4 Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Allergology, University Medical Center Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Theodor-Kutzer-Ufer 1-3, 68167 Mannheim, Germany
5 Dermatologie Spandau, Moritzstr. 1, 13597 Berlin, Germany
6 Department of Dermatology and Allergology, Vivantes Klinikum Spandau, Neue Bergstr. 6, 13585 Berlin, Germany
7 Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Vivantes Klinikum Neukölln, Rudower Str. 48, 12351 Berlin, Germany
Reprints: Wiebke Katharina Peitsch

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic imposes major challenges for care of cancer patients. Objectives: Our aim was to assess the effects of the pandemic on treatment and appointments of patients with malignant melanoma based on a large skin cancer centre in Berlin, Germany, and identify reasons for, and impact factors associated with these changes. Materials & Methods: Patients with melanoma treated from January 1st 2019 received a postal survey with questions on impairment due to the pandemic, fear of COVID-19, fear of melanoma, changes in therapy and/or appointments, including reasons for the changes. Impact factors on postponed/missed appointments were examined using descriptive analyses and multivariate logistic regression. Results: The response rate was 41.3% (n = 324; 57.4% males; mean age: 67.9 years). Among 104 participants currently receiving therapy, four (3.8%) reported treatment changes due to the pandemic. Postponements or cancellations of appointments occurred in 48 participants (14.8%), most frequently, at their own request (81.3%) due to fear of SARS-CoV-2 infection (68.8%). Current treatment was associated with a reduced chance of postponing/missing appointments (OR = 0.208, p = 0.003), whereas a high or very high level of concern for COVID-19 (OR = 6.806, p = 0.034; OR = 10.097, p = 0.038), SARS-CoV-2 infection among close acquaintances (OR = 4.251, p = 0.026), anxiety disorder (OR = 5.465, p = 0.016) and AJCC stage IV (OR = 3.108, p = 0.048) were associated with a higher likelihood of postponing/missing appointments. Conclusion: Among our participants, treatment changes were rare and the proportion of missed/delayed appointments was rather small. The main reasons for delays/cancellations of appointments were anxiety and concern for COVID-19.