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What should Cancer Patients do at this time of Pandemic – COVID 19!

Being diagnosed with cancer is almost always a bolt from the blue, changing life as you have known it, on its head. Adding to that stress now is the ongoing pandemic – Covid 19. A cancer patient is immuno-compromised and therefore at more risk from the corona virus. However, delaying treatment for fear of the virus may result in the cancer advancing to life threatening stages. So what should the patient do?

  1. First off, do not panic. Focus on what needs to be done to take the edge of the stress. Consult your doctor. The doctor will ascertain the type of cancer and carefully consider the risks of the cancer as against the risk from the virus. Depending on the cancer, if treatment calls for surgery, considering the Covid situation, the surgery may be delayed for a few months by giving chemotherapy, Hormone therapy or Radiotherapy. In some cases, Chemotherapy or Radiotherapy schedules could be altered to facilitate fewer visits to the hospital. Or in some cases, Chemotherapy could be administered orally in the form of tablets. For yet some very low grade cancers, treatment can even be delayed for a few weeks or months.
  1. Once the treatment protocol is decided, if you need go to the hospital for treatment, ask your doctor about precautions being taken in the hospital. Knowing what to expect will help. At VS Hospitals extreme precautions are taken for the safety of the patients as well as the healthcare workers.
  • Intense screening of everyone entering the hospital premises.
  • Hand sanitizers provided at multiple locations across the hospital.
  • Insisting that everyone in the hospital premises wear masks and appropriate protective equipment.
  • Seating with safe social distancing.
  • Protective equipment for all patient facing health care workers
  • Frequent cleaning of premises with suitable cleaning agents.
  • Limiting of family members accompanying patients.
  • Admission as In-patient or taking up for procedures only if the patient is COVID negative.
  • Fumigation of rooms after every patient is discharged.
  • Separate isolation wards for patients who may be suspected to have COVID but are awaiting results.
  • Dedicated COVID treatment center in a separate location (2 kms away) to cater to patients who have become positive.
  • Dedicated infection control team overseeing the safety measures being taken and enforcing the adoption and adherence to the stringent safety protocols.
  • Minimize patient visits to the hospital by providing tele-consultation options to patients.
  1.  Ascertain what precautions you as an individual have to take. Contracting the virus may cause treatment to be stopped or paused. Follow the advice of the doctor and local authorities carefully.
  • Stay at home as much as possible.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Maintain a 6 feet distance from everybody.
  • Ask friends and family to help with groceries or medicine shopping or arrange for them to be delivered.
  • Ask your doctor about what symptoms need to be worried about and the line of contact if faced with any of the symptoms.
  • Insist that caregivers, friends and family visiting you take adequate precautions while outside and at home.
  1. Keep your body strong.
  • Sleep well so that you wake up well rested.
  • Eat healthy food. Include a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet.
  • Exercise daily.
  1. Fight off stress. Talk to a trusted friend or loved one about your fears and hopes. There are online groups for people suffering from cancer and cancer survivors. Connect with them and get motivated.
  1. If you are uncomfortable at any stage of the treatment go for a second opinion.
  1. Lastly, keep positive. Believe in the doctor and Trust the Almighty.

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