Patient safety and care delivery remain the focus at Mayo Clinic Cancer Center: A special message from Robert R. McWilliams, M.D., practice chair, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center

May 02, 2020

Mayo Clinic Cancer Center remains focused on patient safety and care delivery

At Mayo Clinic, we are continuing to adapt and respond to the current COVID-19 situation at each of our facilities. We're taking steps to protect the health of our patients and staff. And we're also committed to seeing patients that most need our help. Our ability to care for patients with cancer has not changed. We still take great pride in the world-class cancer care and treatment we provide every day.

We're still seeing patients, and we have many options, including in-person consultations and video visits, to best meet the needs of each individual. Many of the most complex and serious patients need help now. Or in many cases, these patients have continued their cancer care during this time and are able to be seen face-to-face.

Providers can still send cancer referrals to Mayo Clinic. Because most cancers are considered to be medically urgent, we are continuing to provide care to patients with cancer who are newly diagnosed and those with recurrent or metastatic disease. We know referring providers may be working through a potential backlog of patients, and we're here to help. The referral process is working the same as it has in the past. Please feel free to call, email or download a referral form. We'll partner with you on the best treatment options and make sure that patients with the most serious needs are seen quickly.

For more information, please visit our Referring Physician website.

Additional safety measures for oncological surgeries

With the safety of our patients and staff always a top priority, we are taking precautions to ensure we are able to continue to care for patients who need treatment most. Many of our patients are in need of surgical procedures that need to be done in a particular time frame. Our COVID-19 information page for patients has the latest policies on visitors and masking.

All surgical patients are tested for COVID-19 24 to 48 hours prior to their scheduled surgery date. (Other areas including chemotherapy and radiation therapy also are testing patients regularly to help protect our patient population and staff.) Testing takes place at Mayo Clinic and results are finalized within 24 hours due to on-site processing capabilities. Patients then must be isolated after testing so that they are not exposed between testing and the procedure. Finer details will be communicated at the time of scheduling. Mayo Clinic Laboratories has the ability to process a high volume of COVID-19 tests to confirm surgical patients are negative for COVID-19 before bringing them into the operating room.

Continuing to provide lifesaving cancer treatment is a priority for Mayo Clinic. Following our primary value, "The needs of the patient come first," patients have continued to safely receive care for cancer at each of our locations in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; Rochester, Minnesota; and Mayo Clinic Health System.

Changes to clinical trials

While COVID-19 has required us to alter normal operations and procedures, clinical trials are continuing, although some noninterventional trials are still limited.

Phase 2 and 3 trials are now largely open to accrual, and we are opening phase 1 trials as we are able. Please reach out for information on specific trials.

We appreciate your patience as we work to slow the spread of the virus and safeguard our patients, health care staff, study participants and communities. Please contact the study team listed on each clinical trial to understand how COVID-19 may impact ongoing trial schedules or requirements.