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Some Residents Were in a Fight for Life Before COVID-19 Pandemic

Publication: KWTX-TV (CBS, Waco)

Some residents were in a fight for life before the new coronavirus first surfaced in Central Texas and they’re at even greater risk now.

People like Ruth Snell.

"Other than going for walks I haven't left the house only for chemo appointments," says Snell who’s battling Stage II breast cancer while also trying to quarantine.

"Those of us who do have an immune-compromised situation right now are really limiting interactions with others," she said.

But if she has a question she can no longer go into the clinic like normal.

"It's not safe to go into the office so you have to find other ways to get the support and assistance you need," says Snell.

Her doctors at Texas Oncology understand the challenge she and others like her face.

"We as cancer fighters can't put cancer on hold like that, we have to continue to fight cancer," says Dr. Debra Patt, Texas Oncology’s executive vice president.

"Most cancer patients who have active cancer therapy can't simply be put on hold," she said.

"If they put the cancer treatment on hold their cancer would likely have an adverse outcome for the patients."

Patt says one way they are ensuring patients get their care and keep their distance is through telemedicine.

"It allows us to be there for our patients without them having to travel to our cancer centers," she says.

Patt says that in addition to this the practice is limiting the number of in-person patient visits at all of its clinics.

"Everything we do takes a lot more time, but our primary focus is that Texans have great cancer care," Patt said.

Snell says the steps Texas Oncology has taken make it easier for her to go about the business of daily living amid the virus.

"The hardest part is going to be juggling home schooling my kids and working full time. That is going to be harder than staying healthy and quarantining," says Snell.

Click here to watch the full story.

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