Cancer Patients and Coronavirus [Covid-19] FAQs

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Oncologica as a leading laboratory in precision oncology has decided to make available to its patients a series of selected frequently asked questions and resources on the theme Coronavirus.

NOTICE

COVID-19 and Oncologica’s genetic testing service for cancer patients

In response to the concerns of cancer patients relating to the threat of Covid-19 infection following chemotherapy, a treatment which can weaken the immune system and its ability to fight infection, we have empowered our free counselling service to advise cancer patients about access to targeted therapies. These more specific targeted treatments have less impact on the immune system and patients are therefore less susceptible to viral infections.

Support channels will be available from now on, until the end of the emergency.

If in need, please contact us through the Links below.

We are here to support you at this difficult time, we understand the risks you are exposed to and we will do our best to help you receive appropriate guidance and information.

Oncologica Staff

Cancer and Coronavirus
[Covid-19]

The vast amount of information regarding Coronavirus can be confusing to cancer patients and is an additional concern when undergoing chemotherapy treatment which can weaken the immune system. Here we provide information and links which you may find helpful at this difficult time.

Please note that the content of this page is solely for information purposes and does not replace the official source of information that the NHS and UK gov are currently providing.

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus is a flu-like virus causing an illness which has been called COVID-19. In most people the virus won’t cause any major problems resulting in irritation of the lungs and airways. However for some patients there can be serious complications such as pneumonia and heart problems. People with cancer are at higher risk of complications because cancer treatment can weaken their immune systems. The doctors will carefully monitor cancer patients for these more serious complications.

Does cancer treatment weaken immunity?

The immune system protects the body against infection caused by foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. Some people with cancer have a weak immune system as a potential complication of their treatment with chemotherapy which reduces their ability to fight Coronavirus.
Treatment with chemotherapy may stop the bone marrow from making enough white blood cells. White blood cells a major part of the immune system and are involved in the attack on bacteria and viruses. This weakening of the immune system occurs during treatment but can last some time after treatment has ended.

Can I consider myself less at risk if I finished the treatment cycle months ago?

A weakened immune system takes some time to recover, and the side effects of the treatment may however show even after the end of the cycle and for a significant period of time. It is therefore advisable to consider yourself at risk even if the treatment has been completed or suspended. In addition to the treatment effect, some types of cancer such as leukemia or lymphoma directly attack the immune system. Individuals who present these pathologies are therefore to be considered more at risk.

What can I do to help prevent infection and lower my risk of exposure?

For both healthy people and cancer patients, a simple change in behaviour can make a big difference. For example it is important to maintain a high level of hygiene by washing your hands regularly. This can be achieved simply using soap and water which is as effective as using hand wash formulations. Avoiding unnecessary social interactions such as visits to restaurants, pubs and gyms can also help reduce the risk of infection.

What instructions should I follow?

Firstly talk to your cancer team or general practitioner if you have any questions or concerns about the Coronavirus.

The NHS has issued advice to help reduce your risk of catching the Coronavirus if you are having or recently had cancer treatment.

Read the NHS advice here

Social distancing

This refers to reducing your contact with other people which will help reduce the spread of coronavirus.

The government guidance in relation to reducing contacts can be found through the link below:

Guidance on social distancing and protecting older people and vulnerable adults

Additional information sources

 Information and support is available for people living in different regions of the UK and can be found at the following links:

Further information about the UK government response is available on the GOV.UK website:

Information by region:

The government is constantly reviewing the advice about Coronavirus on a day to day basis. You should therefore check the links provided for regular updates. The NHS website provides comprehensive information about the Coronavirus and how to protect yourself.

NOTICE

COVID-19 and Oncologica’s genetic testing service for cancer patients

In response to the concerns of cancer patients relating to the threat of Covid-19 infection following chemotherapy, a treatment which can weaken the immune system and its ability to fight infection, we have increased our free counselling service to advise cancer patients about access to targeted therapies. These more specific targeted treatments have less impact on the immune system and patients are therefore less susceptible to viral infections.

Support channels will be available from now on, until the end of the emergency.

If in need, please contact us through the links below.

We are here to support you at this difficult time, we understand the risks you are exposed to and we will do our best to help you receive appropriate guidance and information

Oncologica Staff

Oncologica® is a leading precision oncology certified laboratory based in the prestigious Chesterford Research Park, Cambridge, UK.

Since 2015 we have been helping oncologists and patients every day to get the maximum benefit from new advanced genetic profiling techniques for the treatment of cancer.

Precision oncology service

Get in touch with our clinical team to discover the pathways available for genetic testing and precision oncology.

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    Note to patients: All contents on this page are for informational purposes. Decisions regarding medical treatments and diagnoses must always be made in consultation with your treating clinician.

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