Published on March 23, 2020
Last updated May 11, 2020
If you’re a cancer patient, survivor or caregiver, you may be wondering what this means for you. “Social distancing,” the recommended practice to minimize your exposure and slow the spread of the virus, can be particularly difficult when you are dealing with a cancer diagnosis.
For patients, survivors and caregivers looking for support, our friends at Cancer Support Community have you covered. You can utilize MyLifeLine.org to keep your family up to date on your cancer journey or join more than 2,000 online discussion boards with people sharing the same experience.
You can also access the CSC’s helpline (with services in English and Spanish) by phone at 1-888-793-9355 or live chat. The helpline is staffed by counselors and resource specialists Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. ET. The helpline is now featuring extended hours Saturday-Sunday from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. ET to support additional requests as a result of COVID-19 concerns.
Then catch a special episode of Frankly Speaking About Cancer addressing questions from cancer patients and caregivers about COVID-19.
You can also do your part to help slow the spread of the virus by self-reporting daily, even if you are well, in the COVID Symptom Tracker from Massachusetts General Hospital, Stand Up To Cancer and Nurses’ Health Study. The questionnaire takes one minute to complete and includes questions for cancer patients and survivors.
There are several organizations and new initiatives that can help ease the financial burden of your diagnosis during this difficult time.
There are new coronavirus resources available through healthcare.gov for those seeking new or alternative health insurance coverage due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The site is a single source for information on purchasing exchange plans, continuing prior employer-sponsored coverage through COBRA, or getting help with premiums if you’ve lost your employer-sponsored coverage or have had a significant change in income.
What are the symptoms?
The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure and can mimic flu-like symptoms. They include:
In most cases, people recover with rest and at-home treatment. In some cases, patients will need to be hospitalized, and infection can lead to serious, and sometimes fatal, illness.
How can I protect myself?
There is currently not vaccine to prevent against COVID-19. The best ways to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community include:
Do your best to continue taking care of your health. The Prevent Cancer Foundation and Cancer Support Community are here to support you during these uncertain times. Check out our 7 Steps for more ways to live a healthy lifestyle.
Need more information about COVID-19?
You can find more information on COVID-19 and how it spreads, how it is treated and more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
While most people who get COVID-19 will experience mild symptoms (and some may not have any symptoms at all), there are some people at higher risk of series illness if exposed to COVID-19, including:
At-home testing for both the virus and antibodies to the virus (in those who have recovered) has great potential to slow the spread of COVID-19, but this option is not yet available.