Opinion Review
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2021. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Clin Cases. Jan 16, 2021; 9(2): 291-295
Published online Jan 16, 2021. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v9.i2.291
Continuity of cancer care in the era of COVID-19 pandemic: Role of social media in low- and middle-income countries
Sanjay Kumar Yadav, Nishtha Yadav
Sanjay Kumar Yadav, Department of Surgery, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Medical College, Jabalpur 482003, Madhya Pradesh, India
Nishtha Yadav, Department of Radiology, Super-specialty Hospital, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Medical College, Jabalpur 482003, Madhya Pradesh, India
Author contributions: Yadav SK contributed to study design, literature search, writing, and proofreading; Yadav N contributed to literature search, writing, and proofreading.
Conflict-of-interest statement: No conflict of interest.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Corresponding author: Sanjay Kumar Yadav, MBBS, MCh, MS, Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Medical College, Tilwara Road, Jabalpur 482003, Madhya Pradesh, India. sky1508@gmail.com
Received: April 10, 2020
Peer-review started: April 10, 2020
First decision: November 20, 2020
Revised: November 22, 2020
Accepted: December 6, 2020
Article in press: December 6, 2020
Published online: January 16, 2021

A novel coronavirus (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) first detected in Wuhan, China, has spread rapidly since December 2019, causing more than 1.4 million confirmed infections and 15000 fatalities (as of April 9, 2020). The outbreak was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. Isolation, quarantine, social distancing, and community containment measures were rapidly implemented in China, which helped in containing the disease. However, other low- and middle-income countries lack such extensive infrastructural capacities and resources. Cancer patients are particularly at high risk of infection and mortality due to immunosuppression. Hence self-quarantine is recommended for them. Additionally, it is becoming impossible to maintain the continuity of care when cancer patients have to avoid physical visits. Social media applications, e.g., Facebook and WhatsApp, can provide educational group program and psychosocial support to these patients while maintain social distancing. We have analyzed their use in this review article and how it could change the follow-up of cancer patients during this pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19, Telemedicine, Cancer care, Social media, Low- and middle-income countries, Remote monitoring

Core Tip: Social media is an effective modality in remote monitoring of cancer patients. While using social media, platforms that have end-to-end encryption (e.g., WhatsApp) should be preferred over open platforms (e.g., Facebook). It is recommended to use a single smart phone that should have multiple security mechanisms so that only the clinician can open the social media platform. It is always a good practice to transfer the patient data to a secure hard drive on a regular basis and then delete it from the smart phone.