Questions and priorities cancer patients and their carers would like addressed from research into COVID-19


Session type:

Christian Mitchell1, Emma Kinloch, Lennard Lee
1University of Birmingham



The World Health Organisation has formulated key COVID-19 research priorities under its ‘Global Research Roadmap’. Disruption of services and uncertainty about the future has significantly impacted patients with cancer during the pandemic. Patient involvement is essential to ensure COVID-19 research is focused appropriately and relevant to patients. To date, there have been no surveys of patients analysing their attitudes to current UK COVID-19 research priorities.


An online survey, developed through patient-clinician collaboration, was distributed to people affected by cancer through the National Cancer Research Institute Consumer forum and associated patient care groups. Respondents were asked to select up to three of a possible seven research priorities they deemed important. Responses were accepted from 17th June to 16th August 2020.


216 responded to this survey. Respondents were most commonly in the 55 – 65 age category and 32.4% were male. The majority of respondents were from South East England (20.4%), Northern Ireland (19.4%), and London (16.4%). 7 respondents (3.24%) had tested positive for COVID-19. The top three research priorities identified were “the effect of COVID-19 on the cancer population over time” (64.4% of respondents), “the development of a COVID-19 vaccine” (59.7%) and “understanding personal risk of COVID-19 based on treatment type” (45.4%). Research priorities of less interest were “understanding the genetics of COVID-19” (22.7%), “the impact of social isolation” (37.5%) and “COVID-19 treatment trials” (36.1%).


People with cancer are concerned and interested in COVID-19 research, particularly how it might impact the cancer population over time. These results will help set the strategy for future research into the impact of COVID-19 on the cancer population as part of the ongoing UK Coronavirus Cancer Monitoring Project.

Impact statement

The output of the survey will help to inform cancer and COVID-19 research priorities and highlights the importance of patient and public involvement.