Whether you like it or not, the coronavirus pandemic is dominating the news and our lives in general, for the time being. This new disease has swept the world and caused a lot of panic, a lot of death, and a lot of problems for patients suffering from other conditions.
Cancer, one of the most damaging illnesses today is no different in that respect – it has taken a back seat to coronavirus. However, to people who suffer from cancer, this is the most important topic and they would like to know how the current situation can reflect on them.
We consulted cancer medication researchers at Odonate Therapeutics to tell us a bit more about the possible interactions between cancer and Covid-19.
Are Cancer Patients More at Risk of Covid-19?
The short answer is yes – people with a compromised immune system are more likely to contract the virus and have a negative reaction to it. Even though cancer itself may not cause your immune system to be compromised, most cancer treatments do affect the immunity and therefore cancer patients need to be extra careful to follow the safety and sanitation procedures.
Naturally, that doesn’t mean that all cancer patients are likely to contract the disease, as every case is different, but extra precaution is always a good thing.
How Serious Is the Illness?
As the disease is fairly new and unknown, there is still no firm and comprehensive consensus just how deadly and serious this illness is. However, what we do know and see is what is happening all around us.
Many people are getting ill at the same time, which is putting a strain on the health system. What’s more, people with some other medical conditions, such as heart disease and cancer, who may be immunocompromised are more likely to have serious symptoms of the disease.
Should People Still Get Tested for Cancer?
Just because one illness is dominating the news cycles and the public discourse, doesn’t mean that all other illnesses and injuries have gone away. People still get sick and injured, which means that they need to visit the doctor.
However, if you are not ill, and you just want to get tested for cancer, chances are that your doctor will advise against it. Staying isolated and maintaining proper social distance is paramount at this time.
That being said, in some parts of the country, doctors are once again scheduling screenings and returning to normal. Consult your doctor about the best course of action at this point.
What Medication Is Used to Treat Coronavirus?
Seeing how this is a brand new illness, there is no officially accepted treatment for it at this point. Still, we are not completely helpless against the illness. After all, getting an FDA-approved drug can be a long process.
Even though we don’t yet have medication which will kill the virus, we do have medication which will manage the symptoms and help the infected person with their symptoms. Some medication has even shown potential to disrupt the reproduction of the virus, which shortens the recovery time.
Is There a Vaccine?
Just as we don’t have a drug which will cure coronavirus, we don’t have the vaccine – there has simply not been enough time to develop one. Typically, a vaccine is developed for years, going through a series of tests, including animal testing and human trials.
Even though the process for developing the vaccine for this disease has been expedited due to its global importance, it may still be some time before a vaccine is available.
For the time being, keeping to some ground rules seems the wisest – washing your hands, staying at home as much as possible, and wearing a face mask whenever possible. Stay safe.