We are facing an unprecedented crisis due to COVID-19 which has gripped the whole world in a panic. Cancer patients who have been diagnosed recently or are undergoing treatment feel themselves to be more vulnerable. Those treated for cancer in past and doing fine currently are also concerned. This anxiety of having/having had cancer combined with social media that is flooded with inaccurate information is adding to the confusion and anxiety
I want to assure cancer patients that for most of the cancer patients, treatment can continue as planned while others may need some modifications in the treatment sequence or intensity. I agree that cancer patients currently under treatment are more susceptible to get COVID-19 infection which could be more serious and have a worse outcome as compared to the normal population. It should be understood that diabetic, hypertensive (high BP), and those having heart problems have a worse outcome as compared to cancer patients if they catch COVID-19 infection. Any combination of these diseases does increase the risk of complications further.
Here are a few measures that a cancer patient must take to avoid getting COVID-19 and how the cancer treatment may be affected.
Patients can be divided into three broad groups according to their cancer status and urgency of treatment
Finally, discuss with your oncologist and family members to chart out a course of action vis-à-vis treatment, arranging logistics & finances, and plan for expected problems.
COVID-19 is going to stay – we should learn to live with it and NOT PANIC.
Maintain good physical and mental well-being
Continue with the daily routine after lockdown is lifted and take adequate precautions
Cancer treatment is safe during this time and may need some modifications. It is advisable NOT TO IGNORE your cancer for the fear of COVID-19.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer care is huge, this is the time to be extra careful and to follow all the precautionary measures required to protect yourself from the infection.
HOD and consultant - Surgical Oncology, Oncology Sciences
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