Precautions for Cancer treatment in coronavirus patients

Precautions for coronavirus patients with cancer in India:

Precautions for coronavirus patients with cancer is critical as they are at most risk for this deadly virus. As the year 2019 came to a close, China’s Wuhan had only reported its first few cases of a novel coronavirus that was said to have been contracted by humans from bats. As we reach the third month of the new year, the world has had over 1,00,000 coronavirus cases with over 4000 people having died of the disease. The coronavirus, also labelled as the COVID-19, is from the group of coronaviruses that are known to cause flu-like symptoms and respiratory distress. The entire world is shaking with the pandemic-of-sorts that that the world is in today, more so for patients with compromised immunity and conditions like cancer.

All parts of the world are screaming fear and panic as people are unaware about how serious the disease is. Individuals who contract this novel coronavirus are said to experience mild to moderate flu-like symptoms which tend to go away by treating them while remaining quarantined at home until they subside and go away completely. Some people however, may experience more severe symptoms like difficulty in breathing, respiratory distress and very high fever, due to which they will need to be admitted to the hospital.

The CDC and WHO have so far observed that older adults in China and those with weakened immune systems are not only at the risk of contracting the virus but also suffer from more serious complications.

How Serious is the Coronavirus?

For individuals suffering from cancer, there is some extra care that you and your caregivers need to take. It has been suggested that cancer patients with hematologic or blood malignancies are at a higher risk among the cohort of cancer patients. The coronavirus epidemic that began in Wuhan in China has now become a pandemic but it can be more serious in cancer patients.

Infact, this is particularly true for patients who are undergoing chemotherapy and/or targeted drug therapy as both of these reduce the neutropenia or deplete the immune system cells which help fight infectious agents like the COVID-19.

This is also true for individuals who are receiving CAR-T therapy or bone marrow stem cell transplants because their immunity is severely compromised.

The coronavirus can be seriously dangerous to individuals whose immune system is so compromised that it is unable to fight off the virus. Cancer treatment in coronavirus patients has to be appropriate in line with international protocols for.

Are All Cancer Patients at Risk?

Cancer patients in the remittance stage or those who are completely cancer-free are at the same risk as any normal individual. However, in cancer patients who are under active treatments like chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy and radiotherapy are at an increased risk as their immunity is severely compromised. Those patients who have just finished their active treatment phase and are recovering from this phase are also at risk as their body’s immunity is still compromised as the after-effects of the treatment impairs immunity. Cancer care for patients with COVID-19 may involve self isolation to ventilatory support hence it is important to contact your local health provider if you have any above symptoms.

What Precautions Can Cancer Patients take to Prevent the Disease?

As of today, there is no cure or vaccine that can treat the COVID-19. The best to prevent it is by  avoiding exposure to the virus. Another most important way to prevent getting infected by the virus is to wash your hands with soap and water as often as possible and for 20 seconds each time. If soap water is unavailable, use a sanitizer that contains atleast 60% alcohol.

Other precautions and preventive methods given by the WHO are:-

  • Avoid touching your nose, eyes, face and mouth
  • Use a tissue if you sneeze of cough
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Wipe your phones, and other frequently used objects with cleaning sprays or wipes
  • Wearing facemasks to prevent the COVID-19 is not suggested. However, if you are sick, it is advised to wear a mask

There are no special precautions that people with cancer need to take to prevent COVID-19. Just remember to follow the instructions mentioned above and stay safe!

If you think you have the symptoms of coronavirus, you must report to the doctor immediately with a proper history of your symptoms and travel history of the past few days. Precautions for coronavirus patients with canceris critical and it is imperative that all patients reports symptoms to concerned health authorities.

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