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Cancer and the Coronavirus

As we've all seen from the nightmarish outbreak of the virus Covid-19, anyone can be struck with this disease if not careful (or perhaps maybe even neglectful), but what about those who already have a life threatening disease causing them to be otherwise hospitalized? What happens to those who are in need of these hospital beds, but are at a greater risk of serious illness if infected with the virus? Cancer patients all throughout the United States were subject to these questions once the pandemic struck, forcing hospitals to go into lockdown and prioritize patients with the coronavirus. Thousands of patients had to reschedule appointments and transfer to a telemedicine visit, which is a call with a patient and a doctor over platforms such as zoom, facetime, or even as the name suggests, a telephone. Being at a higher risk of death due to their already compromised immune systems, a new system of prioritization was instituted for cancer patients, in order to provide care to those in serious need of it, as well as to keep those more stable at home, away from the dangers of the virus. Many new methods have been developed as to attempt to circumvent the need for patients with cancer to come into contact with patients diagnosed with the coronavirus, such as switching from a intravenous (i.e. shots and the like within the veins) treatment to an oral treatment to improve disease control, implementing a ‘wait and see’ approach, and even shorter/accelerated or hypo-fractionated radiation schemes with radiation oncologists, where it is scientifically justified and appropriate for the patient. Even seemingly vital operations like cancer testing have been put on hold in certain places as to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Though nothing is certain during these times, it is always beneficial to be safe and act cautiously, especially when the lives of loved ones are at risk.


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