The COVID19 pandemic: what does it mean for a cancer patient?
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These are unparalleled times. As a Surgical Oncology clinic, we have our concerns that cancer patients will suffer as a result of the pandemic and have been looking into ways we can help our patients and those who are suffering from cancer.
The COVID-19 virus can of course affect anyone, including healthy people. However, patients with other medical diseases that cause a weakened immune system, such as cancer, may be at a higher risk of catching the virus as well as developing complications. In addition, many of our cancer patients are receiving chemotherapy during this time, which may further weaken their immune system.
There have been many articles about the dangers of COVID in cancer patients. Two recent studies from the US and UK examined data on more than 1700 cancer patients with COVID-19 from the United States, Canada, UK and Spain and found a higher mortality rate. (reference : https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(20)31173-9.pdf and https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(20)31187-9.pdf ).
These articles remind us that we must be very careful when dealing with our cancer patients.
At Melissa Teo Surgery and The Surgical Oncology Clinic, being up to date with the latest information and guidelines regarding COVID and cancer is important. Together with this knowledge, we make decisions about the treatment of every patient, based on our doctors' experience and their in depth understanding of the patients' cancer biology.