The Impact of COVID-19 on Cancer Patients and its Prevention Steps

Cancer sufferers need to be very vigilant in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, because they are more easily infected with the Corona virus and experience severe symptoms due to COVID-19. Therefore, proper precautions are needed so that people suffering from cancer do not get infected with the Corona virus.

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the Corona virus. Viruses that attack the respiratory system are more likely to cause infection in people with weak immune systems, such as the elderly and people with cancer.

If you are diagnosed with cancer and require a COVID-19 examination, click the link below so you can be directed to the nearest health facility:

  • Rapid Test Antibodies
  • Antigen Swab (Rapid Test Antigen)
  • PCR

According to WHO data, cancer is a chronic disease with a high risk of causing serious complications due to COVID-19, in addition to heart and blood vessel disease, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease.

What Impact of COVID-19 Can Cancer Patients Have?

Cancer and its treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy or radiotherapy, can cause the bone marrow of cancer patients to stop producing white blood cells that act as 'soldiers' that protect the body against certain infections and diseases.

That is why, cancer sufferers will experience a decrease in their immune system, so their bodies are unable to fight infections, including Corona virus infection.

In addition to being more at risk of being infected with the Corona virus, the following are some of the impacts that cancer patients can experience due to COVID-19 disease:

Symptoms of COVID-19 that appear more severe

Some people infected with the Corona virus do not experience any symptoms, while others may experience mild, moderate, or severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Mild flu-like symptoms are generally experienced by adults with normal immune systems. In people with good immune systems, COVID-19 symptoms may not appear at all.

It's different with cancer patients. Symptoms of COVID-19 experienced by people who have cancer or are being treated for cancer can be more severe, such as high fever, chest pain, bluish lips and nails, shortness of breath, to decreased consciousness or coma.

The risk of getting dangerous complications of COVID-19

When a cancer patient is infected with the Corona virus, his immune system will get weaker. As a result, people with cancer who develop COVID-19 are more at risk of developing a number of dangerous complications, including:

  • Severe pneumonia
  • ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) or respiratory failure caused by a cytokine storm
  • Heart attack
  • Kidney failure
  • Heart damage
  • Severe infection or sepsis
  • Rhabdomyolysis

Cancer treatment is blocked

In order to stop the spread of the Corona virus, everyone is encouraged to undergo physical distancing and stay at home. However, this can make it difficult for cancer patients to get treatment, such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or surgery.

Therefore, cancer sufferers need to consult with the doctor who treats them to reconstitute a cancer treatment plan during this outbreak.

To determine whether a patient needs to undergo chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery in a hospital, the doctor will assess the severity of the cancer (stage of cancer) and the patient's general condition.

What Should Cancer Patients Do During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

In general, the preventive steps that cancer sufferers must take during the COVID-19 pandemic are as follows:

  • Limiting physical contact with anyone for at least 12 weeks
  • Wear a mask when traveling outside the house and stay away from crowds or crowded places
  • Maintain a minimum distance of 1.5–2 meters when interacting with other people
  • Eat a balanced nutritious diet to maintain the immune system
  • Wash your hands regularly with running water and soap for 20 seconds, especially before eating and after using the bathroom
  • Take medicines that have been prescribed as recommended by the doctor on a regular basis
  • Do light exercise regularly at home if possible
  • Asking for help from other people at home to clean the house regularly, especially objects that are often touched such as tables, chairs, and doorknobs

In addition to taking some of the COVID-19 prevention steps above, cancer sufferers also need to stay in touch with family and friends so they don't feel lonely or isolated.

If the disease condition worsens or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 in the form of fever, cough, or shortness of breath, cancer sufferers need to immediately self-isolate and contact the doctor who treats them or hotline COVID-19 at 119 Ext.9 for further guidance.

Cancer sufferers can chat doctors directly in the ALODOKTER application if there are things you want to ask about their health problems, and make an appointment for a consultation with a doctor at the hospital if you really need an examination or direct treatment.