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Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on time to diagnosis and treatment in children with cancer at tertiary care level
  1. Lionel Dufour1,
  2. Ashly Simon2,
  3. Matthew J Murray2,3,
  4. Sam Behjati2,4
  1. 1 Department of Paediatrics, Barking Havering and Redbridge Hospitals NHS Trust, Romford, UK
  2. 2 Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, UK
  3. 3 Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  4. 4 Wellcome Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridgeshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sam Behjati, Department of Paediatrics, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK; sb31{at}

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The UK NHS responded to the COVID-19 pandemic from early 2020 by focusing all, bar indispensable services, on pandemic management. There are numerous reports of the adverse impact this diversion of resources has had on various health services, including cancer care. The degree to which childhood cancer services have been affected, including diagnostic delay, are less well documented. Such delays have been observed at presentation to primary and secondary care.1 2 Further delays may occur at any stage of a child’s diagnostic journey, including assessment and investigation by primary or secondary care, and delays to diagnostic work-up at tertiary level. The latter would seem to be particularly susceptible to the diversion of resources, as the initial management of children with cancer relies on the very …

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  • Contributors LD was project lead and main author; MJM contributed to data analysis and manuscript writing; SB contributed to project planning and manuscript writing; AS contributed to data gathering.

  • Funding This study was funded by Wellcome Trust (grant number 206194).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.