Pink Up: How does the coronavirus impact people with cancer?

Pink Up: How does the coronavirus impact people with cancer?

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - “The COVID virus does not discriminate," said Dr. Sagar Patel, a radiation oncologist at Saint Francis Healthcare System.

According to Dr. Patel, those diagnosed with cancer are at a higher risk of getting COVID-19.

“And these patients have been shown to have a higher hospitalization rate, higher morbidity and higher mortality," he said.

The coronavirus only makes their bodies’ fight more difficult.

“These patients are already struggling, and they’re highly susceptible to this infection. Are they gonna be able to withstand the infection? Are they going to be able to mount an appropriate immune response," said Patel.

Also, a COVID-19 diagnosis might impact their cancer care and treatments.

“And now they have this really scary virus that they’re just unsure how it’s going to manifest," he said.

But, according to Dr. Patel, it’s important for those with cancer to remain optimistic. He also recommended keeping a journal of symptoms and treating social distancing with extra caution.

“Really limiting your interactions to those that you absolutely need. You know. And I think even though being six feet away, but really do you need to be in that area, do you need to be in that room, do you need to be in that environment," he said.

And, Dr. Patel said we all have a greater responsibility than ourselves during the pandemic.

“We may not be affected. We may have mild symptoms. But if we expose an individual who’s highly vulnerable, like a cancer patient, that may be very deleterious and very dangerous for that individual and might impact their overall outcome," said Dr. Patel.

You can click here for more information on the visitor policy at Saint Francis Healthcare System and the steps they’re taking to keep patients safe.

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