Until we can get through the uncertainty driven by the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic, taking care of your family and your loved ones is of utmost focus and concern.
We have assembled some resources and links that may be helpful for colorectal cancer patients, their families, and loved ones.
As always talk to your personal care team about recommendations for your personal situation and precautions you should take when arriving for appointments. Many health care facilities have placed restrictions on visitors and put other protocols in place to protect patients.
We can get through this together.
1. What is COVID-19 (coronavirus)?
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause illnesses such as the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). In 2019, a new coronavirus was identified as the cause of a disease outbreak that originated in China. The virus is now known as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The disease it causes is called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Signs and symptoms and information about what you should do can be found here.
Also from the Mayo Clinic: COVID-19: What patients with cancer should know. (posted March 30, 2020)
2. What do cancer patients need to know?
[Unfortunately] cancer patients are among those at high risk of serious illness from an infection because their immune systems are often weakened by cancer and its treatments. Usually the [elevated] risk is temporary. Cancer patients who finished treatment a few years ago or longer have immune systems that have most likely recovered, but each person is different.
The American Cancer Society answer your most common questions here.
3. How can I limit my exposure to COVID-19?
Cancer patients may be more vulnerable to the coronavirus than others, but “the methods of prevention and protection are no different for cancer patients than they are for the general population,” says Mashiul Chowdhury, MD, Director of the Infectious Disease Program at CTCA®. “Still, cancer patients need to be extra vigilant.”
Also from Cancer Treatment Centers of America: Q&A about delays in treatment because of COVID-19; Additional information about managing stress; and Using technology to break up isolation. (added April 14, 2020)
4. How can I care for a patient at high risk?
- Know what medications your loved one is taking and see if you can help them have extra on hand.
- Monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a back-up plan.
- Stock up on non-perishable food to have on hand in your home to minimize trips to stores.
The CDC has a comprehensive website with tips for preparing your home and taking care of yourself or others here.
5. Easing your fears about coronavirus.
It’s important to remember that many aspects of the coronavirus and your risk of exposure are well within your grasp to manage. Ground yourself in the reality of each day. Weigh the decisions you make with regard to travel vs. working from home or traveling to visit friends and relatives. This anxiety is tied to uncertainty about our futures. Yet we cope with this every single day. We know how to cope when the highway in front of us backs up, or when plans change or even when a loved one is ill and requires immediate health care.
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center has compiled a list of 10 practical things you can do ease your fears here.
Wondering about the status of an upcoming Coalition event?
At this time we have rescheduled several events and we are in conversation with others to determine the best plan for each community. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate this dynamic situation. Information is fluid and updates will be made available as the situation changes.Event Status and Questions Answered