Cancer patients and COVID-19

The government has announced changes to public health advice that start on 3 January. We will update this information then.

Having cancer may put you at a higher risk of serious illness if you get COVID-19. Some cancers and some cancer treatments can cause a weak immune system.

You need to take extra care to protect yourself even if you are fully vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccine may not work as well for you as it does for other people. It's still important to get vaccinated, as the vaccine is likely to give you some protection from COVID-19.

You can still get COVID-19 if you are fully vaccinated. You may become very ill if you get COVID-19.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, do not attend hospital for your treatment.

Book a PCR test, contact your cancer care team and self-isolate (stay in your room).

How long you need to self-isolate for depends on the results of your PCR test.

Find out what to do if your test result is:

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.

Before going for treatment

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

  • a close contact of someone with COVID-19
  • concerned about symptoms of COVID-19

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.

Last updated: 23 December 2021 at 10am

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