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What Cancer Patients Need to Know About COVID-19

The novel Coronavirus 2019, or COVID-19, is spreading across our state and country.

While most people who get the virus only experience mild symptoms, others are at risk for developing serious complications from the respiratory virus.

Get the facts about what cancer patients, survivors and caregivers should know about COVID-19.

You are at higher risk of COVID-19.

Cancer patients already know they need to take special precautions against catching any illness — including COVID-19. That’s because certain types of cancer and cancer treatments can lower the body’s ability to fight off infections.

When you come in contact with something like COVID-19, your body may not be able to fight off the virus. This makes it easier – and more likely – to develop serious complications from coronavirus, like respiratory failure.

Cancer survivors should talk with their doctor.

The effects of cancer treatment on your immune system can last after active treatment ends. Cancer survivors need to talk with their doctor to better understand their risk of developing complications from COVID-19.

Take steps to lower your risk (and your caregiver should, too).

Individuals receiving cancer treatment, caregivers and cancer survivors should closely follow advice from the CDC, which includes:

  • Staying home
  • Avoiding sick people (even those in your home)
  • Avoiding all non-essential travel
  • Asking your provider about getting extra medication to limit trips out of the house
  • Getting over-the-counter medicine and medical supplies
  • Having enough groceries and household items for at least two weeks
  • Asking family or friends to run any essential errands
  • Washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds
  • Avoiding touching your face
  • Disinfecting high-touch surfaces daily (e.g. counters, doorknobs, light switches, etc.)

Talk to your care team about upcoming appointments.

Many healthcare providers are rescheduling non-essential appointments, procedures and testing to allow medical personnel to focus on caring for critically ill COVID-19 patients. Some providers are moving in-person check-ups to telehealth visits to help keep you healthy and limit your exposure.

Stay in regular contact with your care team. They’ll let you know if any changes need to be made to your care schedule.

Pay attention to your health.

With all the focus on COVID-19, it can be easy to let your own health and wellness take a backseat. Stay attuned to any new, changing or worsening symptoms — even those not related to COVID-19. Your care team is there to help you feel your best — no matter the question or concern.

Learn more about COVID-19 and Tanner Health System’s response. Visit cdc.gov/COVID19 to keep up with the latest news and recommendations regarding the virus.

Dr. Larson is board-certified in internal medicine/medical oncology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. He earned his medical degree from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine. He completed his internship and residency at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville. He also completed a fellowship in hematology/oncology at the University of Florida College of Medicine.

Cancer Care, Breast Care

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