Have you visited your doctor recently? If you're like many individuals in the United States, you've probably postponed or canceled your preventive care visits and procedures. It isn't clear how long the pandemic will last, but some suggest the virus could prove dangerous for cancer patients until a vaccine or treatment is available. It is imperative that cancer patients and their physicians weigh both the benefits and risks of a visit.
The director of the National Cancer Institute believes the pandemic poses a specific danger to cancer patients. Due to postponed screening measures like mammograms and colonoscopies, fewer cancers are being diagnosed. Additionally, treatments are occurring less frequently and clinical trials have seen a reduction in participants. If you and your physician decide that a visit is the appropriate course of action, we recommend following these safety precautions.
Wash your hands often with soap and warm water.
Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean your hands when you're unable to wash with soap and water.
Use moist cleaning wipes to clean surfaces and things that you touch, such as door handles, ATM or credit card keypads, and gasoline pumps.
Avoid social settings and large groups.
Stay away from anyone with a fever, the flu, or other infection.
If your cancer care team has told you that you have a weakened immune system and that you are at high risk for infection, you may want to consider staying away from children and limiting visitors.
If you use disposable gloves to avoid touching things, wash your hands after you take off the gloves.
Continue to stay home as much as you can, and limit outings to necessities, such as grocery shopping.
Wear a mask if you leave your home.
We strongly encourage you to speak with your care team to determine the best level of care and to keep them informed of any health changes you may experience. Virtual visits are more readily available. If you become ill, contact your physician immediately. If you need support or financial assistance, please contact us. Hope for the Journey may be able to provide financial assistance to you to cover the cost of medications and equipment if you live in our service area and meet the basic criteria for assistance.
Wishing each of you good health during these difficult times.