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Coronavirus: Advice for cancer patients

In a national attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus throughout the UK, we have all now been asked to stay at home and follow 'social distancing' measures. However, people with cancer and their families might feel especially worried about the virus, as cancer and its treatment can lower your ability to fight infection. To keep yourselves safe, we recommend that you follow Government advice

Social distancing

The Government has issued guidance on social distancing. This guidance is for everyone, including children. It advises on social distancing measures we should all be taking to reduce social interaction between people in order to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). It is intended for use in situations where people are living in their own homes, with or without additional support from friends, family and carers. If you live in a residential care setting guidance is available.

We are advising those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures.

This group includes those who are:

Note: there are some clinical conditions which put people at even higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. If you are in this category, the NHS in England will directly contact you this week with advice about the more stringent measures you should take in order to keep yourself and others safe. For now, you should rigorously follow the social distancing advice in full, outlined below.

People falling into this group are those who may be at particular risk due to complex health problems such as:

  • People who have received an organ transplant and remain on ongoing immunosuppression medication
  • People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radiotherapy
  • People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia who are at any stage of treatment
  • People with severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma (requiring hospital admissions or courses of steroid tablets)
  • People with severe diseases of body systems, such as severe kidney disease (dialysis).

 

One Cancer Voice, a group of cancer charities led by Cancer Research UK, has updated their advice on coronavirus for people with cancer. This document is in the form of a set of frequently asked questions about coronavirus (dated 24 March 2020). You can access the document from our website:

Coronavirus: Advice for cancer patients



 

Below is some information about coronavirus, and links to websites where you can find the latest information.

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that are responsible for different illnesses, including the common cold. The latest outbreak started in an animal in China and was then transmitted to humans.

The current outbreak is a new strain of coronavirus called COVID-19, and has not been previously diagnosed in humans.

What are the symptoms?

The following is a list of common symptoms that may develop in the 14 days after exposure to someone who has COVID-19 infection:

  • A cough
  • A high temperature
  • Shortness of breath

If you are worried about symptoms, please call NHS 111 or go to the NHS 111 coronavirus advice website. Do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment.

What’s the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. This is particularly important after taking public transport.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home and work environment.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

GOV.UK has published clear and printable instructions on handwashing techniques.

Further information

Key up-to-date information from the government (updated 23 March 2020):

Travel advice:

Copyright © 2020 Kidney Cancer Support Network, All rights reserved.


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