The clinical fallout of organizational resilience in oncology during the pandemic

The clinical fallout of organizational resilience in oncology during the pandemic

It was October 2020 when we started thinking about this special series for the Mediastinum on “Changes in management of mediastinal tumours following the surge of COVID-19 pandemic”. At that time, we were leaving behind us the first wave of the COVID-19. Although a second-wave was predictable, and further medium-size epidemic expected up to 2022 (1,2), it was still not clear to many that a return to the previous status quo, mistakenly referred as the normality, would not happen ever again. It was far from a nihilistic approach, actually, the opposite. We thought it was realistic to think forward how we could have championed a necessary change for our patients, moving from an early to a delayed phase response. In a managerial approach, this process implies an essential skill and attitude, namely organizational resilience, which could be defined as “the ability to anticipate, prepare for, respond and adapt to incremental change and sudden disruption to survive and prosper” (Denver, 2017). After the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on people and systems, restoration could be supported only by myopic as much as unrealistic effort. Instead, we have been loudly calling by this pandemic to leave our comfort zone, make necessary changes to our clinical offer, monitor and verify if these changes could become long-term improvements, learn the lesson, and anticipate further possible adjustments (see Figure 1). Several practical examples of long-term clinical enhancements have been doing, particularly in oncology, include more extensive use of telemedicine (3,4); limitation to unnecessary diagnostic, as well as therapeutic, procedures; the triage of our outpatients and more attention to their frailty; a preference for more convenient, less toxic and long-lasting, but equally effective, treatments (5); the building of more effective international collaborations, for example, by creating disease registries to monitor and review facts and assess changes (6). Some new, or, in some cases, not very new challenges have been spotted and still need adequate solutions, include the inequity in the access to treatments, especially in non-universalistic healthcare systems (7). The criteria we need to use to refer patients to active although still palliative treatments or to acute escalation treatments; inadequate clinical spaces and organizations; the distraction of clinical research, business and resource deployments to other non-oncological areas of medicine.

Figure 1 Clinical fallout of organizational resilience.

With this view, we welcome each reader to consider the papers included in this series. Expert authors from high-volume and referral cancer centres shared their clinical experience maturated during the pandemic surge. They discuss those needed long-term changes and improvements in the diagnostic and therapeutic paths of mediastinal tumours.


Funding: None.


Provenance and Peer Review: This article was commissioned by the editorial office, Mediastinum for the series “Changes in Management of Mediastinal Tumours Following the Surge of COVID-19 Pandemic”. The article did not undergo external peer review.

Conflicts of Interest: Both authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form (available at The series “Changes in Management of Mediastinal Tumours Following the Surge of COVID-19 Pandemic” was commissioned by the editorial office without any funding or sponsorship. GLB and AA served as the unpaid Guest Editors of the series. GLB serves as an unpaid editorial board member of Mediastinum from September 2020 to August 2022. GLB reports consulting fee from AstraZeneca and Roche, Support for attending meetings and/or travel form AstraZeneca and Ipsen. AA reports personal fees from AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Takeda, Roche, Takeda, MSB, and BMS, as well as grants and personal fees from Boehringer-Ingelheim, outside the submitted work. The authors have no other conflicts of interest to declare.

Ethical Statement: The authors are accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

Open Access Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0), which permits the non-commercial replication and distribution of the article with the strict proviso that no changes or edits are made and the original work is properly cited (including links to both the formal publication through the relevant DOI and the license). See:


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Alfredo Addeo
Giuseppe L. Banna

Alfredo Addeo

Department of Oncology, Geneva University Hospitals, University of Geneva, Swiss Cancer Center Leman, Geneva, Switzerland. (Email:

Giuseppe L. Banna

Candiolo Cancer Institute, FPO-IRCCS, Candiolo, Turin, Italy. (Email:

Received: 19 August 2021; Accepted: 03 September 2021; Published: 25 June 2022.

doi: 10.21037/med-21-34

doi: 10.21037/med-21-34
Cite this article as: Addeo A, Banna GL. The clinical fallout of organizational resilience in oncology during the pandemic. Mediastinum 2022;6:11.

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