The coronavirus pandemic is disrupting our home and work lives, especially for the many members of the Stand Up To Cancer community who may be dealing with a current or ongoing cancer diagnosis for yourself or a loved one. And while the situation is changing rapidly, we thought it might be helpful to share a few resources from the medical centers participating in SU2C-sponsored clinical trials.
Most importantly, please know that cancer centers and their doctors, nurses, social workers, and other providers are working hard to figure out what this might mean for each patient, and how to get them the best possible treatments in the current emergency. As the pandemic takes effect in different parts of the country, things will change differently and at different rates, so there’s no one answer that works for everyone. Some treatments may be delayed as hospitals prepare for large increases in patients who are seriously ill or need to be on ventilators, but there are not yet specific guidelines for these situations. If you’re a patient, we recommend you check in with your doctor’s office if you have questions.
If you are on an anti-cancer therapy now, it’s important to be extra vigilant about staying away from people and groups. Patients, especially on chemotherapies, may be more susceptible to infection as their immune systems are compromised while the therapy temporarily impacts your white blood cells. This is also true for people receiving bone marrow or stem cell therapies.
If you are recently diagnosed with a cancer or starting an anti-cancer therapy, you will need to check with your healthcare providers often, as recommended by the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Talk to your doctor about the possibility of switching from IV to oral therapies, adjusting chemotherapy based on your goals for the care, or temporarily moving to another clinic to get your therapies. If you can lessen your time at clinics and hospitals that will be helpful, to you and to the facility. And if you do go ahead with treatments or surgery please let your loved ones and caregivers know they may not be able to visit you or bring assistance as often as in the past. You and they will need to plan for curtailed visits while you are in the facility to help protect you and the other patients.
There is a lot we don’t know yet about the coronavirus and how this will play out for people affected by cancer, but doctors, nurses, and other health care providers are working hard to answer questions as they come up. And at Stand Up To Cancer, we’ll continue to seek new treatments and therapies and provide information to everyone affected by cancer.
Sung Poblete, PhD, RN
Chief Executive Officer
Stand Up To Cancer