Talking about cancer
covid and cancer
COVID & CANCER
The National Cancer Institute reminds us of the advice and protective measures for patients and their families as well as recommendations for health professionals on Oncotv.org.
Cancer patients are generally more vulnerable to viral infections such as coronavirus. Their immune defences may be weakened by certain cancers and treatments, particularly chemotherapy. In this context, symptoms may be less easily detected. The risk of developing serious respiratory complications for these patients is 4 to 5 times higher than that of the general population. To support patients and their families during this epidemic period, the National Cancer Institute has put advice and a question and answer section on its e-cancer.fr website. This site provides answers to the situations of cancer patients and reminds us of the importance of the link with the medical team that follows the patient. It also stresses the importance of respecting barrier procedures for all. In addition, the Institute’s website contains recommendations, advice and essential tools for patients and health professionals.
CANCER TREATMENTS: CONSULTATION WITH ESSENTIAL MEDICAL TEAMS
Cancer patients have a higher risk of developing severe forms of COVID-19. At this time of fragility, it is essential that everyone follows the instructions that allow patients to protect themselves against the epidemic and to continue their treatment in the best possible conditions of safety.
Cancer patients should never interrupt their treatment without the medical advice of the health professionals who follow them. Each case is unique. In certain situations, oncologists may maintain or reschedule treatment courses.
In case of suspicion and/or symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 infection, and depending on their severity, each patient should contact a healthcare professional:
their GP: if the patient develops symptoms suggestive of coronavirus infection;
15: in case of malaise or respiratory difficulties.
Whatever the situation, it is essential to specify in which hospital the patient is being treated for cancer so that the doctor can, if necessary, contact the oncologist or haematologist.
In the case of other symptoms, and in particular symptoms that have been reported as side-effects of the treatment, contact the department that is treating the patient directly. For example, if fever occurs after chemotherapy without any other signs. In this case, the patient should follow the specific instructions given by the health care team and contact them.
In any case, do not go to the hospital or to a doctor without being asked. Contact by telephone remains the priority.
RESPECTING BARRIER GESTURES AND CONTAINMENT INSTRUCTIONS
The barrier measures disseminated by the health authorities are crucial for the whole population. They are even more important for cancer patients and their families, as their immune systems can be weakened by treatment. It is therefore essential that patients and their families apply these rules rigorously and regularly:
- use single-use tissues and throw them away
- wash your hands every hour;
- cough or sneeze into your elbow or into a handkerchief;
- greeting without shaking hands, not kissing;
- avoid all gatherings, limit movement and contact.
For those close to a cancer patient, it is also advisable to wear a surgical mask from the onset of symptoms and possibly exclude themselves from the cancer patient’s entourage to limit the risk of contamination.All of the advice is available here.The mobilisation of each of us and respect for health security rules remain essential to protect cancer patients but also the entire population. The National Cancer Institute calls on all citizens to take action in this regard.
EMOTIONS AND CANCER
When you have cancer, it is normal to experience different emotions, depending on whether you have just been diagnosed, have completed your treatment or are facing a recurrence of the disease. Many people compare their emotional state to a rollercoaster.
Each person reacts in their own way to a cancer diagnosis, adapting to the situation with varying degrees of ease and in varying amounts of time. Often, people deal with the disease in the same way as they deal with other problems or crises. Being better informed about the emotional effects of cancer may help you to cope. It can also help you to understand what other people are going through and to support them during difficult times.You may experience some or all of the emotions described below at some point.
ADVICE AND RECOMMENDATIONS IN THE MANAGEMENT OF CANCER PATIENTS
The National Cancer Institute has put together on e-cancer.fr the recommendations, advice and tools that are essential for patients and professionals. These include
for patients :
- personal assistance and technical aids, particularly in the context of home hospitalisation
- information on leave for relatives;
- the Cancer Info line 0 805 123 124 (free service and call), in partnership with the Ligue contre le cancer, offers psychological support.
for health professionals:
- management of the adverse effects of oral medicines;
- support for patients at home;
- tools for practice for general practitioners.
It also relays the advice and recommendations of learned societies for health professionals.
Updated regularly, the section includes to date :
- the recommendations of the HCSP concerning the prevention and management of COVID-19 in patients at risk of severe forms;
- advice on the organisation of multidisciplinary consultation meetings (RCP) in oncology in the context of the Covid-19 epidemic;
- recommendations for radiotherapy oncology professionals.Health professionals are invited to contact their institutions, orders and learned societies, which will be in the best position to communicate the most recent recommendations.
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