Cancer patients may have reason to be extra cautious during the COVID-19 pandemic, says BC Cancer.
And to help guide those patients through this time, the agency has issued a question and answer on their website.
The questions are those that are on the top of mind of many patients with cancer. They address whether cancer patients are more likely to get sick from COVID-19, how to avoid getting the virus, mask protocols, and whether patients should keep their clinic appointments.
They state that “it is possible that cancer patients are at a higher risk of more severe symptoms because of their lowered immune system due to medications and treatment. Like other healthy people, they should do their best to avoid infection.”
They turn to the BC Centre for Disease Control for those guidelines, which include avoiding crowded public places, washing hands frequently with soap and water (20 to 30 seconds), avoiding touching their face, covering their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, avoiding others who are unwell, and staying home when sick.
As for whether masks are important, this is their advice:
“Our advice for cancer patients is the same as for any other person. If you are healthy, wearing a mask is not recommended. The most important way to protect yourself is by washing your hands properly and avoid touching your face. Masks should only be used if you are sick to prevent transmission to others,” they say.
And they are not advising patients pause their cancer care unless they have traveled recently, under the public health requirement to self-isolate for 14 days, are not feeling well with cold or flu symptoms, or have a fever over 38C. In those situations, they ask patients to contact their clinic to discuss rescheduling.
“It’s important to ensure your cancer care continues as scheduled, so please continue to go to your clinic appointments,” they say.
They also say it’s not important to stockpile cancer medications, as BC Cancer Agency will work with patients to ensure they have their medications.
They do advise against travel, as per the BC Provincial Health Officer’s current guidelines.
Find their full Q&A on the home page of their website.
They also say the best source of up-to-date information on COVID-19 in British Columbia is the BC Centre for Disease Control website.
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