The Results Are In: How COVID-19 Affects CRC Patients and Caregivers


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Fight CRC Highlights Treatment Disruptions and Health Disparities During COVID-19

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC) facilitated a survey and focus groups to understand the ripple effects the pandemic is having on our community in order to understand how we can continue to be a reliable resource during these challenging times. 

Fight CRC launched the patient and caregiver survey utilizing established online contacts of our patients and advocates, Colontown online communities, and through various social media channels. We also hosted three focus groups, two specifically for patients, and one for caregivers in April 2020.

  • 222 individuals responded to the survey, including CRC patients, caregivers, family members, friends, and medical professionals
  • 10 patients and five caregivers participated in the focus groups

Access to Care A Major Concern 

  • Nearly 40% of colorectal cancer patients and caregivers reported disruptions in care, especially as it relates to in-person visits and imaging. Of these, 25% said they did not know when their care would be rescheduled, and 34% said their visits changed to telehealth.
  • A majority (78%) of colorectal cancer patients feel nervous, anxious, or on edge, and 57% reported they are concerned about contracting COVID-19. Twenty percent reported feelings of isolation.
  • Patients on Medicare were more likely than patients on private insurance to report having difficulties affording food and basic supplies. 
  • People living in rural areas were more likely to experience treatment disruptions compared to those who live in suburban or urban areas. 

Mental Health Effects

Mental health and anxiety were prevalent themes in both the survey and focus groups. One patient stated “I was also anxious about losing benefits. Losing my health insurance. It created anxiety. There was one night where I was having a panic attack because of COVID and not being able to go outside. And every time I would go to my treatment, there are multiple [COVID-19] patients there too. I was scared of getting sick.”

Another patient stated “when it [COVID-19] got here, I remembered, because I’m high risk, how I felt when I had the stage IV diagnosis and was going through treatment and knowing that it was quite possible I was going to die. It brought it all back...this whole situation.”

Download the Full Report

Fight CRC will continue to support the colorectal cancer community through COVID, and most importantly through CRC diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship.

Citation: Dwyer, Worrall, Garcia. “Survey of the Colorectal Cancer Community during COVID-19”. Fight Colorectal Cancer. April 24-May 5, 2020.

Fight CRC also distributed two surveys to the medical community to better understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the ability of providers to care for cancer patients. Both surveys asked similar questions about disruptions in care and patient perception questions.  Additionally, Fight CRC hosted focus group style discussions with established Fight CRC Medical Advisory Board (MAB) members to identify key priorities for current patient needs, as well as preparing for potential surges. The virtual interviews were conducted throughout June 2020.

Read a summary of the findings here.

Fight CRC remains committed to providing answers to your questions and resources you need. We’ve interviewed medical experts and created new resources to keep the CRC community up-to-date on the latest in COVID-19. Check them out here.

Additional Resources