At this moment, humanity is battling the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Many loved ones have been directly affected by contracting the disease, and others indirectly by economic hardship.
With COVID-19, immunocompromised individuals such as cancer patients must stay vigilant in protecting themselves. Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing and avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and fever. Until screening is fully accessible and while we wait for possible therapeutics and a vaccine down the road, we must all do our part to Flatten the Curve. Self-isolating and social distancing NOW can slow rates of infection so we don’t overwhelm our health care system.
COVID-19 has also impaired clinical trial participation as well as diversion of healthcare resources to the pandemic resulting in delays in the initiation of new clinical trials or patient accrual to clinical trials. As a result, our national and local actions to control the pandemic, I am confident that clinical trials will resume in a few months. In the meantime, I would encourage our cancer patients to maintain their fitness through healthy diet, adequate sleep, stress mitigation with mediation and exercise. Such personal investments will serve to enhance control of the cancer, while preserving your performance status which is important for eligibility in clinical trials.
This is not a time to panic but it is a time to take every precaution both for yourselves and the greater community. As a physician and healthcare professional, I plead with each of you to heed the advice of the CDC and healthcare experts. As the pandemic unfolds, I pray that each of you stay well and stay informed!