Radiation Oncologists Emerging as Unlikely Sleuths of Coronavirus

Gopal Bajaj, MD

During radiation treatment, doctors are picking up images that could indicate COVID-19 in patients who are asymptomatic.

Inova Schar Cancer Institute’s Chairman and Medical Director of Radiation Oncology, Dr. Gopal Bajaj, spoke with Bloomberg Law about how radiation oncologists are emerging as the coronavirus’s unlikely sleuths.

According to the April 2020 article, there have been a “fair number” of anecdotal reports radiation therapy cases in which the doctors seem to be picking up potential cases of COVID-19 in patients who aren’t showing any symptoms of the respiratory disease.

This has prompted an “educational spark within the specialty,” says Dr. Bajaj.

As the article explains, since the risk of cancer patients requiring admission to an ICU may be five times greater than patients without cancer if they become infected with the virus, “[the] notion that cancer patients could be infected without presenting symptoms raises questions about their treatment — continue, truncate, or suspend? — as well as the health of their doctors.”

Physicians and researchers from hospitals around the United States are quoted in the article, which talks about what they are doing to increase (or develop new) safety precautions and other strategies.

ARTICLE: Read more about how radiation oncologists are emerging as unlikely sleuths in the coronavirus battle.

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