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Living With Cancer in the Time of COVID-19

Living With Cancer in the Time of COVID-19

May 28, 2020

Advice from Cancer Specialists at Inspira Health

Receiving a cancer diagnosis is a harrowing experience for most people. A diagnosis is oftentimes followed by a slew of appointments with different specialists, working in tandem to develop a treatment plan that best suits the patient’s needs.

“For those who are on the outside looking in, it can be hard to appreciate just how many moving pieces there are for arranging and developing a treatment plan for someone with cancer,” said Benjamin Negin, M.D., medical oncologist. “The outbreak of COVID-19 has added layers of complications to these plans, but we’ve put systems in place to make treatment more comfortable and safer than ever before.”

Can I Delay My Treatment?

Depending on the form and stage of cancer, it may be possible for treatment to be postponed safely until the pandemic loosens its grip on the health care system. Your doctor can determine whether or not this is an option for you.

“If postponing your treatment or receiving it in an alternate location is possible, your doctor may have already proposed that possibility to you,” said Nandini Kulkarni, M.D., FACS, surgical oncologist. “But it’s important to never skip a treatment on your own accord and always ask your physician first.”

A treatment plan formed together with your team of physicians is personalized and flexible so it can change over time.

Inspira Health physicians are offering virtual visits whenever possible. Some patients who have recently received a diagnosis might also be encouraged to connect with additional Inspira resources such as counseling for emotional support. Many of these services can also be provided through virtual visits.

Does a Cancer Diagnosis Increase My Risk of Getting COVID-19?

However, every person’s risk factors for contracting the coronavirus change based on a variety of factors, including cancer type, what form of treatment they’re receiving—as well as how often they are receiving it — and how long they have been in remission if they’re a cancer survivor.

“More important than any increased risk for getting the virus, is the additional risk cancer patients may have for complications from COVID-19 if they should get it,” says Erev Tubb, M.D., FACP, medical oncologist and medical director of the cancer program at Inspira Medical Center Mullica Hill. “Given either concern, cancer patients and survivors should do what they can to avoid exposure to COVID-19 and reduce their chance of contracting the virus.”

In addition to the typical risk factors that anyone can have, such as other medical conditions, family history and being a smoker — cancer patients have added factors. This increases the importance of monitoring your health closely and making sure that your doctor is made aware of any changes in your current health status.

If you have questions about cancer treatment related to COVID-19 or other questions about cancer treatment, please talk with your doctor or call Inspira Cancer Services at (856) 641-8670.

Topics: COVID-19, Cancer Care