Publication date: Nov 28, 2023
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in unprecedented tolls on both economies and human life. Healthcare resources needed to be reallocated away from the care of patients and towards supporting the pandemic response. In this systematic review, we explore the impact of resource allocation during the COVID-19 pandemic on the screening, diagnosis, management, and outcomes of patients with lung cancer during the pandemic. Pubmed and Embase were systematically searched for articles investigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients with lung cancer. Of the 1,605 manuscripts originally screened, 47 studies met the inclusion criteria. Patients with lung cancer during the pandemic experienced reduced rates of screening, diagnostic testing, and interventions, but did not experience worse outcomes. Population-based modelling studies predict significant increases in mortality for patients with lung cancer in the years to come. Reduced access to resources during the pandemic resulted in reduced rates of screening, diagnosis, and treatment for patients with lung cancer. While significant differences in outcomes were not identified in the short term, ultimately the effects of the pandemic and reductions in cancer screening will likely be better delineated in the coming years. Future consideration of the long-term implications of resource allocation away from patients with lung cancer with an attempt to provide equitable access to healthcare and limited interruptions of patient care may help to provide the best care for all patients during times of limited resources.