Cancer and Coronavirus : What cancer patients must know about COVID – 19?
The dark cloud of coronavirus has enveloped the earth with a blanket of death. This novel coronavirus is a new member of the coronavirus family. The disease is new and still in the discovery phase. Very less is known about it. And hence, there are a lot of questions about the connection between Cancer and coronavirus.
‘Cancer survivors and cancer survivors are at the highest risk of COVID-19’, Doctors warned!
COVID-19 is a contagious respiratory disease that can result in mild to severe risks. From cold, cough and flu to fever, pneumonia and breathlessness, COVID – 19 can cause a range of symptoms.
For some people, it’s mild and they can recover on their own. But for the weaker ones, those with compromised immune, COVID-19 can be life-threatening.
Old, diseased, children are at high risk. People with diabetes, cancer and asthma also find it hard to recover!
Recent records of COVID-19 cases show that ‘cancer patients might get a hard time fighting the disease. Cancer patients are likely to experience more serious infection if they contact the virus.’
Everybody is at risk!
Before we proceed with the facts about coronavirus and cancer, here is one important thing to know.
Everybody is at risk.
There is a big misconception that young healthy people are not vulnerable to the virus.
It’s a myth.
Every single life is at risk. Though some are at high risk and some may have a sheild.
But everyone is at risk.
Young healthy people are also battling for their lives across the world.
Currently, there is no vaccine or cure to COVID-19. The only way to fight it is to avoid getting infected. That’s why the government has announced the lockdown! There is no other way right now!
Why else would the government let the economy crumble, if it wasn’t that serious?
Cancer and Coronavirus. Why cancer patients are at high risk?
Recent records suggested that cancer patients who had undergone chemotherapy or surgery in the previous month are at high risk!
Because cancer and cancer treatment can contribute to weakened immune systems. The body is already coping with one destruction. As such, tackling another invader won’t be easy.
Plus, many cancer drugs are known to weaken the immune system. Chemotherapy is linked to several side effects. One of which is reducing the count of the white blood cells. White blood cells are responsible for fighting infections. And many cancer treatments affect the count of white blood cells resulting in a weaken immune system.
Thus, increasing the risk of any infection including COVID-19.
Symptoms you should look for:
Most people who come in contact with the novel coronavirus experience mild symptoms.
- Many complain of cold, cough, flu or fever.
- In some cases, the patient may also get headaches, vomiting and diarrhoea.
- And in severe cases, the virus might infect the respiratory tract and cause trouble in breathing. The patient may suffer from shortness of breath or pneumonia.
What to do if you suspect the symptom?
Do not ignore your symptoms. If you are experiencing mild symptoms even without coming in contact with a known patient of coronavirus then also you must consider checking.
- Inform your doctor immediately.
- Even if it’s a might cold. It’s better to take precautions.
- Stay at home and request a home visit.
- Quarantine yourself.
- Cover your nose and mouth while coughing or sneezing.
- Wash your hands before and after doing anything. You may also use a hand sanitizer.
Should cancer fighters follow the same rules?
Simple instructions laid forth by WHO ensures protection against the life-claiming virus.
- Maintaining social distance.
- Keeping the hands away from nose, mouth, eyes and ears.
- Proper hand-washing and sanitization at frequent intervals.
- Avoiding group gathering
- Disinfecting surfaces, clothes and self.
- Strengthen your immunity.
These precautions are more precious for cancer fighters and survivors. As for them, prevention is much better than cure. Because the cure here is not guaranteed!
Precautions for a cancer patients!
For the brave fighters who are battling cancer, the guidelines of precautions have a few extra points:
- Stock your medications for 30 days. And ask your chemist to deliver at the doorstep after the stock gets over. Wash the medicines in a bucket and let them dry. Keep it untouched for 3-4 hours.
- Be in your own safe space. Do not step out. Don’t let others in. If any of your family members is not following the precautions then maintain a safe distance from them.
- If you have an appointment then ask for a home visit. After the doctor goes, take a warm bath and disinfect everything the doctor touched.
Holding on to your mental health
Coronavirus has stirred a turbulence of anxiety and panic among the masses. Normal lives are disrupted. People are scared. The world is panicking. Economy is drowning. Plus, the lockdown has made it difficult for people to pour out these overwhelming feelings.
As a cancer fighter, you might find it hard to tackle it all. But that’s absolutely okay!
Everyone else is struggling too. Cancer or no cancer!
This is a new thing and people take time to adapt to changes.
So, follow the below tips to hold on your mental health:
- Embrace the isolation.
- Engage your energies.
- Look at the bright side.
- Don’t let the fear overburden your spirit.
- Follow the precautions.
- Stay positive
- Practice meditation and yoga
- Do pranayama.
- Focus on healing
What should you tell your friends/family and care takers?
Prioritize your health and don’t shy away from banning outsiders to enter your house.
It’s lockdown phase and you must adhere to it!
If you share the house with your loved ones then tell them to take precautions. Maintain enough distance from everyone. Do not share utensils, closet or towels.
Ask them to follow the instructions stringently because coronavirus is not a joke!
Should you put your cancer treatment on hold?
Visiting the hospital at this time is definitely a risky idea. Call your oncologist and discuss the details. If you are not experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 then you can continue your usual routine treatment. But that again increases your exposure to the virus.
So, understand the implications and complications and then make a calculated call!
Got a query?
If you have further doubts about cancer and coronavirus, then feel free to write to us. You can also speak to your cancer care team on the phone and get your queries answered. Whatever is your preferred way, just make sure that you don’t step out.