Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about COVID-19 for cancer patients
While the COVID-19 outbreak has presented unique challenges to everyone, UK Markey Cancer Center remains open and committed to providing world-class treatment and research for our patients, both at physical locations and via telehealth appointments.
As leaders at Markey closely monitor this public health crisis along with UK HealthCare leadership, we would like to provide some guidance to our cancer patients and answer the frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19 listed below.
Should I keep my appointment at the Markey Cancer Center?
If you have symptoms of a COVID-19 infection or were exposed to someone infected with the virus, you should call your physician’s office before coming to the Markey Cancer Center. The health care team will assist you in determining the next steps.
If you do not have symptoms, keep your scheduled appointment. The Markey Cancer Center is beginning to use telehealth for patient appointments. Your provider may contact you to discuss a telehealth visit or reschedule a non-essential appointment to a time when the risk of COVID-19 infection is lower.
If I have cancer, what can I do to protect myself from COVID-19?
The best protection from a viral infection is prevention. Avoid close contact with others, particularly if you have other serious or chronic medical conditions. Keep your hands clean and avoid touching your face. Frequently clean and disinfect touched surfaces like countertops, tables, doorknobs, light switches, phones, desks, keyboards, faucets, toilets, and sinks. Do not travel unless necessary.
How is the Markey Cancer Center screening for COVID-19?
We screen all patients and visitors. There are central screening areas in the lobbies of the Roach and the Whitney Hendrickson Buildings. We also screen patients and visitors at the check-in desk for each clinic. Screening means asking questions to identify anyone 1) exposed to COVID-19, or 2) with upper respiratory symptoms, including fever AND cough or shortness of breath.
Are there any restrictions that may affect my family or friends during my visit to the Markey Cancer Center?
At Markey, visitors are not permitted in the BMT unit and in our infusion areas. In all other areas in Markey, one visitor is allowed to accompany a patient.
Can I still get my chemotherapy if I am feeling well?
At this time, there is no evidence to support changing or withholding chemotherapy or immunotherapy in patients with cancer. The balance of potential harms from delaying therapy versus the potential benefits from possibly preventing a COVID-19 infection is very uncertain. There is no evidence to suggest that people with cancer are more likely to get a COVID-19 infection compared to the general population. A preliminary report indicates that patients with cancer may have a higher incidence of severe events compared to other people infected with COVID-19. At this time, oncologists continue to treat cancer patients with chemotherapy as long as they are feeling well with no symptoms of an active infection. The decision to treat cancer with chemotherapy is an important one and should be made only after consultation with your oncologist.
Will I be able to have my cancer operation?
As recommended by the CDC and the American College of Surgeons, elective surgeries are being postponed across the country to save essential resources like personal protective equipment, intensive care beds, and ventilators. In most cases, cancer surgery is not elective and will continue as planned. If your cancer is very slow-growing and a temporary delay in the operation will not affect your health, your surgeon may elect to postpone your procedure for a short time.
What is Markey and UK HealthCare doing to keep facilities clean and safe?
The UK HealthCare Environmental Services team is trained and prepared in this battle against COVID-19 and making sure that our facilities meet the highest standards of cleanliness and sanitization every single day.
Learn more about our efforts in the video below.
Are there any additional video resources to learn more?
Yes. Markey has been hosting webinars for physicians to address the challenges presented by COVID-19. While these videos are originally intended for a professional audience, they are available for the public online on our COVID-19 Resources webpage.