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Why Cancer Patients Should Not Skip Their Treatment During The Pandemic

Coronavirus Pandemic has shifted priorities in health, jobs, and life in general. Now, most people focus on avoiding Covid-19 at any cost. Unfortunately, patients with pre-existing conditions such as cancer have forsaken their clinic appointments.

Lockdowns, social distancing, and the unpreparedness of the health sector to handle such a pandemic, have led to a disruption in healthcare services.

Unfortunately, patients with other conditions, such as cancer are suffering silently. The fear of contracting the disease has led to a decline in testing, access to care, and treatment of cancer. Some patients are still waiting for caregivers to reschedule their canceled cancer screening test appointments.

Delays in care for cancer patient falls under the following categories:

 Primary care is the time between the first sign and the first oncology clinic visit

 Secondary care falls between the first clinician visit to the start of treatment

 Tertiary care is the interval between starting treatment andrecovery

Effects of Covid-19 on Cancer Patients

When the pandemic settles, one of the impacts will be a strain on the healthcare system.

Several cancer patients will experience advanced stages of cancer. For blood cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma, timely diagnosis and treatment havea significant impact on the patient. If diagnosis or treatment delays, the illness advances extremely fast. Timely treatment increases the chances of long-term survival outcomes.

Addressing the Fear

Although cancer patients have a compromised immune system, they don’t need additional precautions against Covid-19. The patients need to wear masks, avoid crowds, observe hand hygiene, and maintain social distance.

Cancer patients have a higher risk of developing Coronavirus. If a cancer negative patient has a fatality of 3-4%, cancer patients have a fatality of 8-10%. However, there’s a low chance of contracting Covid-19 in cancer hospitals, so; they should not fear seeking treatment.

Cancer patients should take advantage of video and tele-consultations for follow-ups.

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