Medically Reviewed by Karim Tazi, MD
It’s bad enough when you’re diagnosed with cancer and potentially facing surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation treatments. But, today’s cancer patients face the additional unknowns of coronavirus (COVID-19).
“Because some cancers and cancer treatments lower a person’s immune system, these people are at high risk of serious health issues if they get coronavirus,” says McLeod Oncologist Dr. Karim Tazi. “For instance, blood cancers, such as lymphoma or leukemia, can impact a person’s ability to fight infections. Treatments, such as chemotherapy, can affect bone marrow’s ability to create enough white blood cells, which are part of the immune system.”
Among those people who should take particular care of themselves include patients:
There may be some disruptions on care, such as elective surgery. If you have any questions, call your cancer care team or specialist.
SHELTERING, SHIELDING & COPING
It is more important for cancer patients to shelter in place by staying at home. Steer clear of face-to-face contact with other people. Avoid shared spaces, such as kitchens. Use a separate bathroom or, at least, separate towels.
Also, avoid family gatherings, even in private places. Ask family or friends to do your shopping and leave it at the door. Try to limit people coming into your house except for health care professionals. However, stay in touch with friends and family by phone, text, email or visual computer calls, such a Skype.
Exercise, preferably outdoors in fresh air, such as walking or jogging will help get your heart pumping.
Although it may not be easy to stay relaxed at a time like this, take breaks, try some slow, deep breaths or meditation. Spend some time with your pets, which are known to help reduce our stress.
For more information, review this document from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Have a question? Ask a Cancer Specialist.
Sources include: McLeod Health, American Cancer Society, Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Cancer Research UK, American Society of Clinical Oncology, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention