Cancer and coronavirus
If you have cancer, it’s understandable you might feel anxious about COVID-19. The Government and the NHS have both confirmed that cancer treatment should continue to be prioritised during the response to the COVID-19 emergency.
It is important people continue to seek help for new and ongoing issues. If you notice a change that isn’t normal for you, or if you have any possible signs and symptoms of cancer, you should still contact your doctor.
Healthwatch England have spoken to one of the charities offering support at this time, Cancer Research UK, to help you understand the care you should expect to receive throughout the pandemic, and where to go for help.
The care you should expect to receive
Will my cancer care change?
People with cancer are among those at higher risk of complications from COVID-19. This is because cancer and treatment can weaken your immune system.
Services have been told to reduce contact to maximise the safety of patients with cancer, and make the best use of NHS resources, while protecting patients and staff from infection.
As a result of the outbreak, your healthcare team might review your cancer treatment plan. They will aim to continue with your treatment wherever possible but may need to change your treatment or prioritise certain treatments over others.
For example, face to face contact will be minimised by offering telephone or video consultations instead, and some non-essential face-to-face follow ups may be cut.
“Don’t put it off – get it checked”
Northamptonshire doctors urge people not to ignore signs of potential cancer as local referral numbers fall.
Talk to the Cancer Research UK nurses
You can phone the Cancer Research UK nurses if you would like to talk to someone at this worrying time.
0808 800 4040 (Freephone)
Lines are open from from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Lots of charities offer support on coronavirus guidance for those with cancer. There are many other helpful sources of information:
- Macmillan Cancer Support
- National Cancer Institute
- NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) have developed guidance on the delivery of systemic anticancer treatments.
- Royal College of Radiologists have written several advisory documents for cancer treatment during the coronavirus pandemic.
There are also specific places of support depending on your type of cancer: