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COVID-19: What Cancer Patients Need to Know?

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly increased our anxiety levels over the possibility of being infected with the novel coronavirus. As per the medical experts, all cancer patients and older people are at higher risk of COVID-19 related mortality.

Although much remains unknown regarding the novel coronavirus, it is clear that elderly people, those with preexisting health conditions and people with compromised immune systems have a higher likelihood of severe illnesses. This includes people with cancer who are being treated with chemotherapy. But taking some necessary precautions can lower your risk and improve your well-being.

What precautions can cancer patients take to protect themselves from COVID-19?

There is currently no vaccine or specific treatment to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent this illness is to limit the risk of exposure to the virus. Precautions for avoiding COVID-19 are the same as for other contagious respiratory diseases, such as influenza (flu).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends additional actions to help keep people at high risk for developing severe complications from COVID-19:

  1. Avoid unnecessary person-to-person contact, such as handshakes
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  3. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; and before and after coming in contact with others
  4. Stay home as much as possible
  5. When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and then discard the tissue
  6. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household spray or wipe
  7. Exercise appropriate social distancing
  8. Stock up on necessary medications for the next few weeks
  9. Only leave your home for essential reasons and keep a distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and other people.
  10. Make sure you have access to several weeks of medication and supplies in case you need to stay home for prolonged periods
  11. Keep in contact with your doctor through telemedicine services

Why are cancer patients at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19?

The immune system of an individual with cancer is often weaker, especially during chemotherapy. Therefore, during this time, they may be more susceptible to the complications once an infection occurs with any virus. A cancer patient’s risk for developing a more severe case is individualized based on several factors. This includes the type of cancer a patient has, medical history and whether they are receiving chemotherapy, how immunosuppressed they are, and other preexisting issues as well.

How can PatientMD help cancer patients in receiving consultations online?

If you are undergoing cancer treatment, you can easily be connected with the oncologist team through our telemedicine services without having to visit the clinic or hospital. As health care systems are adjusting their facilities to address the COVID-19 crisis, doctors treating cancer patients may also have to alter their treatment procedures depending upon the situation. You can connect with the doctors through our telemedicine services and stay updated about your cancer treatment. The risk of having missed a cancer treatment or doctor’s appointment must be weighed against the possibility of the patient being exposed to the infection. The routine follow-up visits can be conducted through our telemedicine services. You just need to register on our platform to schedule a telemedicine consultation with our medical experts directly from the comfort of your home at your preferred date and time.

What should a cancer patient do if they are having COVID-19 symptoms?

Call your doctor right away. Your next course of treatment will be customized depending upon what symptoms you have, where you are in your treatment course, whether the symptoms may be related to cancer itself or the cancer treatment if you should remain at home or need to go to the hospital.

Stay in communication with the medical experts, and keep up to date on new developments. Let them know if you have questions or concerns, especially if you have new symptoms or were recently exposed to someone who is ill. The most important thing to keep in mind is don’t panic. The best thing one can do is focus on ways that they can protect themselves because those little things can be enough to provide everyone with an extra layer of protection. Browse PatientMD now to know more information regarding the telemedicine consultations and reserve your preferred day and time for scheduling a teleconsultation with our renowned doctors.