How does COVID-19 affect patients with cancer undergoing chemotherapy?
The global pandemic of the coronavirus disease continues to have a serious impact on many people, including Breast cancer patients, their families, and caregivers. Many hospitals that were working for cancer patients have converted into corona centres resulting in a shortage of medical resources for breast cancer patients. Cancer has been sidelined by corona globally.
Coronavirus has added a set of fears for breast cancer patients because people with breast cancer and other serious medical conditions are at higher risk of getting COVID-19. They have many questions in their mind such as is it safe to reach out a health facility to receive the intravenous medicine? How much will chemo weaken their immune system? How much risk is there for them catching coronavirus from a physician who is caring for patients with COVID-19 symptoms or any other corona patients? Will be it alright to skip chemo cycles.
A breast cancer patient cannot delay or skip the treatment because it costs them more money, more time and more misery. Cancer treatment is designed to kill as many cancer cells as possible. Skipping a dose of chemotherapy or a radiation treatment means the cancer cell killing does not happen even the cancer cells have an opportunity to continue to grow.
A related study, drawing on data from the international TERAVOLT registry, revealed that people who have received chemotherapy within the past three months either alone or in combination with other therapies had a significantly higher risk of death. Because some chemotherapy and targeted therapy drugs, cause depletion of immune system white blood cells that fight infection.
We suggest to change the current approaches and redefine the way by which patients with cancer are being treated. Surgery, radiation and chemotherapy should continue during the pandemic but with “extreme caution.” It is crucial to develop a healthcare system for breast cancer patients with appropriate protocols and guidelines to prevent the spread of the COVID-19.
On the other hand, breast cancer patients need to take extra care and follow social distancing rules strictly. We recommend you to stay at home and consult through phone call or video calls with your physicians as much as possible. But if you have to go out for treatment, keeping 6 feet away from others and wearing a face mask is essential.
Last but not least we all, especially breast cancer patients need to enhance the immune system. For boosting your immune system. Your first line of defence is to choose a healthy lifestyle. Take a good diet, maintain physical activities, practice good hygiene, avoid smoking and drinking alcohol, get adequate sleep, combat negative self-talk and minimize stress.