Cancer did not retreat when COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, showed up. This adds yet another element of uncertainty during this global pandemic.

Patients at risk for and living with prostate cancer still deserve high-quality, timely care. That’s why urologists are quickly adapting their practices to continue providing their usual patient care while mitigating the risk of spreading coronavirus.

Below are resources for patients and urologists alike to help us navigate this new reality.

Resources for Patients

Urologists and physicians across the board will be changing how they see patients. For example, they will likely:

  • Ask you questions over the phone about your overall health before scheduling an in-person appointment. If you are feeling unwell, your doctor may recommend you stay home or seek care from a different physician or specialists.
  • Abide by all COVID-19 response guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including maintaining social distancing. 
  • Postpone appointments like elective surgeries to help limit interactions with one another and with clinical staff. 
  • Suggest a telehealth visit to avoid increased risk of exposure.
    • Effective starting March 6, 2020 and for the duration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, Medicare will make payment for Medicare telehealth services furnished to patients in broader circumstances. If you are a Medicare beneficiary, click here to learn more.
  • Check out our guide about preparing for telehealth or in-person appointments! Urological Society Piece COVID
  • Order biomarker tests to help them make clinical decisions without needing additional appointments.
    • Biomarker tests are genomic tools that look at your specific genes (biomarkers), which are found in blood, urine and tissue, to assess your health. Click here to learn more about these tests and where they might fit in your prostate cancer journey. 
    • Download our discussion guide to help you talk to your doctor about these tests.biomarker discussion guide

Resources for Urologists

The severity of the global COVID-19 pandemic demands that the urology community find ways to continue supporting patients and reduce the burden on our overwhelmed health care system.

Now more than ever, risk stratification and early detection will help streamline patient care while prioritizing patient and staff health and safety.

Urologists around the country are committed to proactively balancing the risk of COVID-19 and prostate cancer by implementing the following tactics—tactics that will provide our patients with the highest, safest care possible.

As urologists, we are committed to providing quality care to our patients all the time, but especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully, biomarker tools are proven to help inform, improve and accelerate the decision-making process — a benefit that we should take full advantage of during this time of uncertainty.
- Dr. Neal Shore
  1. Abide by all CDC recommendations to maintain a healthy work environment. CDC guidelines for COVID-19 can be found here. (Link)  
  2. Leverage innovations, such as prostate cancer biomarker testing, to identify and care for patients most at risk for prostate cancer. Click below to download a helpful chart outlining various prostate cancer biomarker tests and how they might be beneficial during this time. 
  3. Limit patient interactions by rescheduling in-office visits with telehealth services. 
    1. Effective for services starting March 6, 2020 and for the duration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, Medicare will make payment for Medicare telehealth services furnished to patients in broader circumstances. To learn more, click here. (link)
  4. Screen patients who require an in-person visit on site to ensure they’re healthy and not presenting symptoms of COVID-19.
  5. Postpone non-urgent visits and elective surgeries when possible.
  6. Keep patients informed of operational policies to reduce risk of spreading the novel coronavirus.
  7. Maintain social distancing protocols as much as possible to protect people who may have a compromised immune system.
  8. Share resources among colleagues to ensure we are doing everything we can to keep our patients safe during these uncertain times while continuing to detect and treat prostate cancer.
  9. Resource shortages are a growing issue. Advisory Board created a checklist of strategies outlining ways to balance patient demand and resource shortages.
  10. Our friends at LUGPA have compiled an additional list of reliable resources with regularly updated information on the COVID-19 pandemic for urologists. Check out the full page.
  11. NCCN Recommendations for Management of Prostate Cancer During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

BIOMARKER TESTS 

Biomarker tools help decrease the risk of COVID-19 exposure to both urologists and their patients by:

  • Prioritizing the diagnosis and treatment of men who are at the highest risk.
  • Eliminating unnecessary biopsies or recommending active surveillance.
  • Providing relief to our stressed health care infrastructure.
  • Not requiring an office visit. (some tests)

Biomarker test

Stage

Office visit

Manufacturer tests results at dedicated laboratory

    
SelectMDx Detection Required YES
Phi Detection Required NO
4Kscore Detection Required YES
ConfirmMDx Immediately after cancer-negative biopsy Not Required YES
PCA3 Pre-repeat biopsy Required NO
Oncotype DX Active surveillance Not Required YES
Prolaris Active surveillance Not Required YES

SPREAD THE WORD

Nearly 40% of urology visits can be handled by telemedicine visits and molecular markers can play a significant role in making these successful.- Dr. David Crawford

Organizations that help support prostate cancer are critical to spreading the word about the best practices for urologists while COVID-19 has placed so much uncertainty into our usual routine. 

We’ve developed a toolkit to equip your organization with the tools to communicate how to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 while still protecting patient health. The toolkit includes social media content and graphics, newsletter content, resources for your community and more. 

HEAR IT FROM THE EXPERTS

This content is sponsored by MDxHealth, a multinational molecular diagnostics company. MDxHealth is committed to supporting the entire prostate health community during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Early detection saved my life.  More men need to know about their risk, and their opportunities to get screened.

~ Keith Wegen, prostate cancer survivor

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