The coronavírus (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease caused by a new coronavírus, which was identified for the first time in the province of Wuhan, in China, in December 2019. In the majority of cases it causes minor effects similar to those of a cold or flu.
However, it may cause a more severe form of the disease, similar to that of Severe Accute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), known as SARS-CoV-2, with a mortality rate proportional to age and other diseases.
It is a highly contagious disease, through respiratory droplets and through contact with contaminated surfaces with subsequent contact of the hands with the eyes, nose and mouth.
In addition to elderly patients with chronic diseases, cancer patients with active disease or undergoing immunosuppressive cancer treatment generally have a weakened immune system. Despite the scant evidence concerning the behavior of COVID-19 infection in this pathology, the above fact constitutes an important risk factor for infection and serious complications, as well as for any other infection by another agent.
There is, understandably, fear and anxiety of patients in the face of this new reality.
Even in this pandemic phase, in the event of urgent health care treatment being necessary, the cancer patient will start / continue his treatment, without prejudice to his clinical situation. There will be occasional situations, in which the oncological disease is indolent or is well controlled, and weighing the risk of contact / infection by COVID-19, it will be possible to consider postponing the treatment.
Naturally, there is now a rigorous screening and control of all patients according to the Contingency Plan of the Hospital, in order to minimize the risk of infection in the Day Care Hospital, be it to other patients, or to the Health professional.
Another important necessity is to minimize hospital visits; ideally only for treatment ideally favoring Teleconsultations whenever possible (namely routine consultations of patients not undergoing cancer treatment).
The measures widely recommended and widespread in the media must be strictly observed - respiratory etiquette, washing hands frequently, avoid touching the face with the hands and sharing personal objects, as well as prophylactic social isolation. In cancer patients under active and immunosuppressive treatment, the use of a mask is recommended due to the risk of infection with COVID-19 and other agents. However, placing and removal of the mask must be done correctly.
In addition to these measures, stay at home.
According to the Psychologists Board during these difficult times we are going through, can give rise to a mixture of emotions difficult to manage, such anxiety, fear, anguish and or frustration. In the polder population these manifestations might have an even greater repercussion.
Among the various recommendations I wish to highlight:
From my personal point of view, in addition to the above recommendations do not forget that good practices for controlling Diabetes should be maintained; healthy eating habits, the usual daily exercises, at home. Be sure that you have the necessary medication and the testing materials necessary for the following weeks and that you also have the necessary prescription should you run out of medication.
Stay at home, keep safe, keep your Diabetes under control.