Several Resources Offer Helpful Information on COVID-19 for Cancer Patients

The Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRA) has assembled a list of resources that disseminate information about COVID-19 for patients with cancer and their clinicians.1 On its site, OCRA also lists financial support resources and information on “staying connected” to preserve mental health during the pandemic through its online support group.2

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the National Institutes of Health cautions that having cancer increases the risk of severe COVID-19 illness but does not increase the risk of getting COVID-19. The risk for severe illness for cancer survivors is not known at this time, says the NCI. COVID-19 vaccines approved by the US Food and Drug Administration have been shown to be similarly safe and effective in people with underlying medical conditions that put them at increased risk for severe illness as in people without these conditions.3

Note that each patient’s cancer treatment and follow-up may have changed during the course of the pandemic. The NCI wants patients to know that if they are prescribed oral cancer drugs, they may be able to have them sent to their home instead of going to a pharmacy.3

Those patients who are participating in a cancer treatment clinical trial are advised to call their clinical research team and follow their guidance.

NCI’s Cancer Information Service can answer questions about COVID-19 and cancer by phone (1-800-422-6237) or through the LiveHelp online chat service.4

The American Society of Clinical Oncology also has information about COVID-19 and cancer available. It cites recent data on the care of patients with cancer and COVID-19, which is updated regularly.5

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the standard protocol to protect against infection with the coronavirus: proper hand washing, social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting, and isolating as much as possible. The CDC also recommends that persons be alert for symptoms, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, and new loss of taste and smell, among others, and to take your temperature if symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 develop.6

References

  1. Ovarian Cancer Resource Alliance. Information on COVID-19 for Ovarian Cancer Patients. https://ocrahope.org/patients/information-on-covid-19-for-ovarian-cancer-patients. Accessed January 7, 2021.
  2. Ovarian Cancer Resource Alliance. Financial Resources. https://ocrahope.org/patients/information-on-covid-19-for-ovarian-cancer-patients/financial-resources. Accessed January 7, 2021.
  3. National Cancer Institute. Coronavirus: What People with Cancer Should Know. www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/coronavirus/coronavirus-cancer-patient-information. Accessed January 7, 2021.
  4. National Cancer Institute. The Cancer Information Service. www.cancer.gov/contact. Accessed January 7, 2021.
  5. American Society of Clinical Oncology. General Information about COVID-19 and Cancer. www.asco.org/asco-coronavirus-resources/care-individuals-cancer-during-covid-19/general-information-about-covid-19. Accessed January 7, 2021.
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How to Protect Yourself and Others. www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fprepare%2Fprevention.htm. Accessed January 7, 2021.

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