Suffering due to delayed or inadequately treated cancer will be no less than what CORONA can unleash. In Italy 20% of all people dying during COVID pandemic were active cancer patients.
For a cancer patient COVID is a double whammy. Due to compromised immunity they have increased risk of COVID related complications and at the same time lock down related measures have made cancer treatment delivery difficult and inefficient.
Cancer care providers ( Oncosurgeons, radiation and medical oncologists ) are at cross roads too. Should we be aggressive with the cancer treatment and expose patients, health care workers and hospital infrastructure to COVID related problems or we be conservative and let this fire douse down and treat cancer with caution till then.
Here we need to understand two things
1- Most cancers will not allow a waiting period of 2-3 months, Cancer unfortunately is not that forgiving.
2- COVID is here to stay, it is not going to disappear from our lives any time soon. It is very likely that even if we wait for 3 months or more we will still be pondering over these very questions.
We cannot be naive enough to think that cancer will give humanity a respite just because it’s busy fighting a new nemesis - a virus. It’s about time we come face to face with this new reality and accept a new normal. We need to learn to live with COVID amongst us and modify our lives accordingly.
We should not let COVID-19 compound the misery of cancer.
Cancer is not going to wait for COVID to disappear and nor should we.
We have to make our systems COVID ready, we should be able to deliver the highest standard of cancer care yet keep ourselves, our patients, attendants and hospital safe from the menace of COVID. And we are ready! We are game for this new challenge.
Be it procuring the best quality PPE or implementing the most stringent infection control measures - we are ready.
We are ready to fight cancer and not let COVID bog us down, we are ready to keep patients interest above our’s.
Don’t think I am underestimating the risks of novel corona virus, no I am not. I am every bit aware of this threat which is potentially the greatest health risk humanity has faced in a long long time but at the same time we cannot keep our eyes shut to the all other realities and cancer is one of them.
Let’s be judicious is our approach, let the non COVID patients not suffer in this hysteria of COVID.