cancer patient drinking coffee outside

Cancer Treatment and COVID-19

Going through cancer treatment can be a difficult time. The COVID-19 pandemic is understandably adding stress to an already overwhelming situation for our oncology patients.

“Cancer doesn’t stop for COVID,” says Sumeet Bhatia, MD, medical director of oncology care at Community. “We are taking every precaution to keep our cancer patients safe, healthy and on track with their treatment.”

Get the Treatment You Need

If you’re undergoing radiation, chemotherapy or a necessary surgery for cancer, Community Health Network continues to stand by you. COVID-19 doesn’t dictate how we provide our patients with exceptional cancer care. Our highly-trained oncology physicians are dedicated to providing you with personalized care. Rest assured that cancer treatments are continuing.

Communication: Your nurse navigator, doctor and your entire cancer care team are here for you. You probably have a lot of questions right now, and Community’s caregivers are making themselves more available than ever to get you answers. You should feel empowered to reach out to your team for a phone call or virtual visit.

Routine Screenings: If you’re due for a routine screening but aren’t currently being treated for cancer, your screening will be rescheduled. This helps minimize exposure for our at-risk patients. As soon as this pandemic passes, we will get right back to important routine screenings.

Know What to Expect When You Arrive

Our top priority is to the health of our patients. That’s why Community has made temporary changes to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus within our facilities.

Visitors: If you’re coming in for chemotherapy or an office visit, we ask that your visitors stay in the car. We understand that these visits can be stressful, and how important your support group is to your well-being. That’s why we’ve made tablets available for video chats during cancer-related visits.

Technology: When you arrive for your appointment, you can use our tablet to call or video chat with your loved ones. Even though they can’t be here physically, they can be just as involved as they normally would. With this arrangement, we hope to provide our cancer patients the support they deserve while putting fewer people at risk for COVID-19.

Understand Your Risks

It’s no secret that cancer treatments can compromise your immune system. It weakens your body’s ability to fight off infections — including but not limited to COVID-19. In short, if you have cancer you should take extra precautions during these times to stay healthy.

COVID-19 Testing: If you have cancer or have had cancer, you might wonder if you should get tested for COVID-19. Unless you’re experiencing symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath, there’s no reason to get tested.

Social Distancing: The best thing to do is to stay home. You don’t need to isolate yourself from your family, but you and your loved ones should be sure to practice safe social distancing if you have to leave the house. Stay six feet away from others and wear a mask. Disinfect surfaces when you bring food into the house. And remember to wash your hands frequently.

If you have more questions about your cancer treatment or how COVID-19 may affect cancer patients, call your care team. They’re available to help you understand your next steps, and how together we will all get through these difficult times. Logging into MyChart is a great way to stay in touch with your team. It’s easy to create an account, if you don’t already have one.