Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Cancer-Related Hospitalizations in Brazil

Allini Mafra da Costa*, Aline L. Ribeiro, Adeylson G. Ribeiro, Andrea Gini, Citadel Cabasag, Rui M. Reis, José Humberto T.G. Fregnani, Isabelle Soerjomataram

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Alongside the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic, Brazil also faces an ongoing rise in cancer burden. In 2020, there were approximately 592 000 new cancer cases and 260 000 cancer deaths. Considering the heterogeneities across Brazil, this study aimed to estimate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer-related hospital admissions at a national and regional level. Methods: The national, regional, and state-specific monthly average of cancer-related hospital admission rates per 100 000 inhabitants and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were calculated from March to July (2019: pre-COVID-19; and 2020: COVID-19 period). Thematic maps were constructed to compare the rates between periods and regions. Results: Cancer-related hospital admissions were reduced by 26% and 28% for clinical and surgical purposes, respectively. In Brazil, the average hospitalization rates decreased from 13.9 in 2019 to 10.2 in 2020 per 100,000 inhabitants, representing a rate difference of −3.7 (per 100,000 inhabitants; 95% CI: −3.9 to −3.5) for cancer-related (clinical) hospital admissions. Surgical hospital admissions showed a rate decline of −5.8 per 100,000 (95% CI: −6.0 to −5.5). The reduction in cancer-related admissions for the surgical procedure varies across regions ranging between −2.2 and −10.8 per 100 000 inhabitants, with the most significant decrease observed in the south and southeastern Brazil. Conclusions: We observed a substantial decrease in cancer-related hospital admissions during the COVID-19 pandemic with marked differences across regions. Delays in treatment may negatively impact cancer survival in the future; hence, cancer control strategies to mitigate the impact are needed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCancer Control
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Brazil
  • COVID-19
  • SUS
  • cancer
  • coronavirus
  • hospital admission


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