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Coronavirus Update for Cancer Patients

 

We have had a few questions from our PLANETS cancer patients regarding the current Global Pandemic Coronavirus (Covid19). As Covid19 is a new strain of the virus, we currently do not have vaccinations to prevent the disease or a cure and therefore, the NHS can only give treatments to manage the symptoms of the disease.

 

The most common symptoms of Covid19 include:

 

A cough (usually dry)
A high temperature (above 37.8 degrees)

Shortness of breath

 

For most, the virus is mild however, some will develop complications such as pneumonia with a small number of people who will become seriously ill. If you think that you have symptoms of Covid19 or you have been in close contact with someone who has it then it is important:

 

In the first instance, go online and use the 111 service
If you have no access to the internet, then you should call 111* (not your GP)
To NOT visit your local GP Surgery, pharmacy or hospital
To stay at home and avoid close contact with other people

 

The 111-coronavirus service will tell you if you need to continue to stay at home (self-isolate) or if you need medical help. *Please ensure if making a call on 111 that you inform the call handler about your specific cancer so that they can take these facts into account.

 

Reducing the risk:

 

The best thing to do to reduce your risk is to follow NHS public health advice:

 

 Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
 Always wash your hands when you get home or into work
 Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
 Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
 Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
 Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

 

Your CNS nurse or member of the hospital medical team may advise that you minimise your risk of infection by avoiding crowded environments, limiting social interaction and maintaining careful hand hygiene.

 

Am I more at risk as a Cancer patient?

 

If you are currently receiving treatment for cancer such as a recent surgery, radiotherapy chemotherapy and immunotherapy – this may weaken your immune system and increase your chances of infection. It may also make it harder for your body to fight disease which means that you may be more at risk of the virus and potential complications. The NHS will continue to provide cancer treatments as normal. In the event of any disruption, clinicians will always make decisions to prioritise treatment for those most in need and in consultation with patients. If you are worried about how COVID-19 will affect your treatment, contact your CNS/medical team.

 

The number of cases in the UK is expected to climb and the advice from the government may change daily, therefore please use the NHS website regularly to keep up to date with instructions. The NHS and government advice around reducing the risk of picking up infections, such as avoiding crowded places or coming into contact with the condition can be found on:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

 

The NHS and government have issued advice about what to do if you are concerned that you have come into contact with someone with Covid-19 can be found on:

www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/common-questions/

 

Regarding holidays and travel, the Foreign Office has the most up-to-date information about how different countries are affected can be found on:

www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/advice-for-travellers/

 

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