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Author Topic: Should I Continue My Cancer Treatment During the Coronavirus Pandemic?  (Read 941 times)

Offline Cancer Health Editors

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Experts say treatment decisions should depend on the individual and factors such as cancer stage.

Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many cancer patients are facing a series of dilemmas, including whether or not to keep receiving treatment, Vox reports.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 650,000 cancer patients are treated with chemotherapy in an outpatient oncology clinic in the United States each year.

But many people living with cancer have compromised immune systems and are among the groups of people at greater risk of contracting the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, a respiratory disease whose symptoms can range from mild to severe.

A recent report from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network found that cancer patients in China with COVID-19 had a 3.5 times higher risk of mechanical ventilation, ICU admission and death compared with those without the disease.

This puts both patients and oncologists in a difficult predicament. Oncologists ask themselves, “Should we continue to give immune-system-suppressing cancer treatments to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic?” On the other hand, patients ask, “What happens to me and my cancer if I stop treatment altogether?”

The problem is, chemotherapy drugs damage healthy white blood cells, which are the body’s defense against viruses like the novel coronavirus. But stopping treatment could also put people living with cancer at risk for even more problems, including tumor progression and shorter survival times.

What’s more, it’s unclear how long this pandemic will last. Although some patients have expressed a willingness to skip one or two chemo treatments, as Vox puts it, “If a patient were to delay their chemo treatment right now, it might not be any safer to resume the treatment should they reschedule it for the coming weeks or months.”

Read more...
https://www.cancerhealth.com/article/continue-cancer-treatment-coronavirus-pandemic

 


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