Cancer patients and COVID-19

Having cancer may put you at a higher risk of serious illness if you get COVID-19 (coronavirus). Some cancer treatments can cause a weak immune system. You need to take extra care to protect yourself.

Follow the advice for people in at-risk groups on how to protect yourself from COVID-19

You may need to cocoon if you are having certain cancer treatments or have certain types of cancer.

Cancer treatment

Unless you are told not to, go for your treatment as usual if you are having chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Your treatment may change. Your consultant or oncology team will decide any changes. They'll discuss them with you.

Changes may include:

  • changes to your medication
  • a break in treatment
  • a new location for your treatment
  • assessments by phone, where possible

Before going for treatment

Phone the oncology unit before going for treatment if you are:

The oncology unit may also phone you 1 or 2 days before your appointment. This is also to check if you have been in contact with the virus.

Go to appointments without family members or carers, where possible. This is to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the virus.

Avoid arriving early to minimise time spent in hospitals.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, phone your GP to arrange a test and self-isolate.

You must continue to self-isolate while you wait for your results.

If you have COVID-19, stay self-isolated until both apply:

  • you have had no fever for 5 days
  • it has been 14 days since you first developed symptoms

Your cancer team will decide when you are fit to begin cancer treatment again. They’ll base this on how well you are and the length of time since you first got sick.

This could delay your treatment starting by 2 to 3 weeks. If you are already on treatment, you may have a longer than usual break between treatments.

Looking after your mental health

It is difficult living with cancer during the current uncertainty.

Read advice about minding your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

Read about dealing with fake health information

Last updated: 2 May 2020 5.40pm

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