Breast Cancer during COVID-19

Medically reviewed by
Dr. Donny Huynh
McLeod Oncology & Hematology Seacoast

The coronavirus (COVID-19) presents many issues for a woman with breast cancer. McLeod Cancer Specialist Dr. Donny Huynh describes options for them to consider.

Here is a summary of Dr. Huynh’s comments:
The COVID-19 outbreak has significantly changed the way that we manage our patients with cancer, including breast cancer. We have a coronavirus that is spreading wildly throughout the world, causing significant morbidity and mortality, especially among those with condition, such as cancer.
Preliminary data appears to show that the patient with cancer is at a much higher risk to develop severe complications from COVID-19. Therefore, we found it absolutely essential to create new workflows to minimize the risk to our patients while at the same time continuing with life sustaining medical treatment for their breast cancer.
During the pandemic, we have taken several steps, including cutting down on clinic days and transitioning most of our visits to the telephone or video conferencing.
So, to the question, “What women with breast cancer should be doing during COVID-19,” the answer actually depends on the timing of the diagnosis. For example, how long ago was it? Is this an active breast cancer case? Had the patient been scheduled for an upcoming surgery? And is it just a routine follow-up or management of their previously treated breast cancer?
In general, I would advise our patients with breast cancer to familiarize themselves with guidelines from the CDC in terms of screening and monitoring for the symptoms of COVID-19. Get proper training in hand-washing, personal hygiene, maintain certain social distancing and minimize the risk of sick contact exposure.
And if they have any symptoms, such as fever or other respiratory symptoms, they should seek out medical care. Certainly, they might require a comprehensive evaluation with the doctors

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