Coronavirus is thought to spread from person to person. The spread most commonly occurs through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can be spread to the mouths and noses of others that are nearby (less then 6 feet), or possibly inhaled into the lungs.
Individuals infected by COVID-19 may not be aware of their infection, and may not show any symptoms of the disease. Social distancing > 6 feet decreases the risk of infection.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals at a higher risk for severe illness resulting from contracting COVID-19 include:
Individuals receiving active cancer treatment, regardless of what type of cancer they have, may be at increased risk to develop a severe illness as a result of coronavirus than those in remission. Active treatment is typically defined as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, and other treatments, like immunotherapies.
Individuals in their first year after CAR T-cell therapy or stem cell transplantation could be at greater risk of complications if they develop COVID-19. Those beyond a year after transplantation and are immunocompromised may remain at a heightened risk for complications.
Individuals with COVID-19 have experienced mild to serious respiratory illness along with symptoms such as:
Other symptoms reported include headache and gastrointestinal effects. Severe symptoms, which indicate you should seek immediate medical attention, include: difficulty breathing, bluish lips or face, confusion, persistent chest pain, pressure or tightness.
Most COVID-19 patients experience mild symptoms. A small percentage of cases are serious and could involve pneumonia. It might take up to 14 days for symptoms of COVID-19 to appear.
Cancer treatments can weaken the immune system. However, how long chemotherapy impacts the immune system depends on a number of factors, including: the type of treatment received, the length of treatment, treatment dosage, and overall health. Each patient’s immune system responds to, and recovers from, treatment differently, and each cancer treatment affects people in different ways.
Patients should discuss the timing of their cancer treatment with their oncology team. Patients, along with their oncologist, must weigh the benefits versus the risks. In many cases, the benefits of cancer treatment outweigh the risks of stopping or delaying therapy.
There is no specific evidence to suggest that endocrine therapies can raise the risk of being infected by COVID-19 or having a more serious illness. Most endocrine therapies do not suppress the immune system.
Cancer patients should follow the CDC guidelines to protect yourself and others.
Taking proper measures to protect yourself and others will minimize your risk of contracting COVID-19.
Michiana Hematology Oncology, PC, is a strong team of supportive and caring board-certified oncologists who can provide support. We recognize that this is a stressful time, and are here for you to treat your mind, body, and spirit.
Have general questions or want to set up a telehealth consultation? Contact us at (800) 860-8100 or complete our online form.