Special Report: COVID-19’s Impact on Breast Cancer Care

If a cancer patient undergoing treatment tests positive for COVID, the anti-cancer treatment is suspended because the treatment impacts the immunity, which is much needed for fighting the COVID virus and recouping from the deadly disease.

All types of cancer are a cause of concern to the patient because they are an emotional burden alongside causing physical and financial burden. Cancerous cells are very powerful, and delayed treatment infiltrates them into the main bloodstream and spreads them to other organs. Since the effects of cancer are aggressive, the treatments have to be aggressive too. But, the treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy impacts the immunity of the body considerably.

In breast cancer, the therapies are followed usually only after the surgery to kills the remaining cancerous cells and prevent their re-growth. However, in the pandemic, many cancer patients have turned Covid positive, impacting their cancer treatment. Consequentially, this made our oncologists ponder over this and bring new treatment protocols, to suit current patient’s needs.
Our venerated oncologist Dr. Amit Gandhi, a breast cancer surgeon In Mumbai, shares a journal of breast cancer treatment protocols for patients and their caregivers on what immediate steps to be taken if a breast cancer patient turns COVID- positive.

#1 Consult your oncologist

If you have mild symptoms and you are in home isolation, consult telephonically with the oncologist. Check on your vitals and oxygen saturation levels. Always be alert about your situation, and query about beds availability in case you need admission.Once you are on the path of recovery, consult with your oncologist to restart the treatment.

#2 Know about the current treatment protocols

Many protocols have changed to suit the new normal. For example, for very initial levels of cancer, you may halt anti-cancer treatment, however in other cases, the oncologist may change intravenous chemotherapy drugs to oral administration to reduce hospital visits. In case you have recovered COVID and proceed for surgery, the doctor may administer hormonal therapy or immunotherapy to boost your immunity without compromising the cancer treatment.

#3. Know About Current treatment modalities and their Adversities

If a breast cancer patient’s ongoing treatment tests positive, usually the treatment is suspended because the treatments suppress natural immunity, which may be a drawback while tackling COVID viruses.
Meanwhile, get a thorough blood profile test and chest scan to know its impact on both cancer and COVID and share reports with your oncologist and other doctors respectively to restart the treatment as soon as you recover.

#4 Consider Mental Health Also

Testing COVID-19 positive while pursuing cancer treatment adds an extra layer of anxiety to cancer patients. The caregivers also must be alert of situations and reach out to patients frequently and talk to them to express their stress.
In both cancer treatment and COVID recovery, a positive mindset plays a pivotal role in the recovery process.

Since the cancer treatments are aggressive, it is necessary to be more cautious of its treatment alongside COVID treatment. In addition, any misinterpretation of the drug administration may increase death chances; hence consider a close consultation with your oncologist about it.

Dr Amit Gandhi is a highly qualified breast cancer surgeon in Mumbai who has vast experience handling cancer cases. So, he knows in-and-out of the treatment and can prevent you from any unwanted consequences for halting the breast cancer treatment in conjugation to COVID treatment. Consult our oncologist online from the safety of your house.

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