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Your Screening Detected Cancer During COVID-19. What Now?

October 02, 2020

By staying current with your regular cancer screenings, you have already made the most important move in taking control of your health. According to estimates from the Prevent Cancer Foundation, 35% of American adults have missed a scheduled cancer screening this year due to concerns about confronting a cancer diagnosis during COVID-19.

“Patients can feel assured that they will receive quality care, safely, during the pandemic,” said Srinath Sundararajan, M.D., FACP, hematologist and medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–Katy and Bellville. “It remains important to stay informed and make empowered decisions about your care.”

While the cancer journey may look a bit different during COVID-19, these helpful steps can serve as a guide.

Establish a Relationship With Your Oncologist and Care Team

From your first meeting with an oncologist, it’s important you feel supported. A scheduler will guide you through the early process of coordinating appointments and any individual meetings with additional physicians or care team members involved in your care, either virtually or in the clinic.

Consider Telemedicine 

Telemedicine is a great option for some patients to discuss questions when an in-clinic appointment is not required. Not only does this help reduce risk of infection, it helps protect other patients.

Understand Your Diagnosis

“This process involves coming to know the particular cancer type, extent, location, and treatment options,” said Dr. Sundararajan. It’s important to research, ask questions, and be patient with yourself as you digest and learn more about your disease.

Discuss Your Treatment Goals

During an early meeting with your oncologist, you may discuss goals for treatment, which can include remission, maintenance, or symptom reduction. Having open, honest conversations with your doctor prevents you from feeling overwhelmed by the influx of information.

Look to Your Care Team to Safely Coordinate Treatment

Clinics and care teams are taking extra precautions to treat patients safely– including temperature checks, mask requirements, added personal protective equipment, guest limits, and enhanced sanitization measures.

COVID-19 is evolving – I tell patients to keep up to date on what’s happening in their community, so they can stay informed and aware of the risks."

Remain Flexible 

Care is coordinated based on each patient’s risk and goals for treatment without compromising outcomes. “COVID-19 is evolving. I tell patients to keep up to date on what’s happening in their community, so they can stay informed and be aware of the risks,” said Dr. Sundararajan.

Take Additional COVID-19 Precautions 

Patients with compromised immune systems, including many cancer patients on chemotherapy, are more susceptible to infections and may be a higher risk for COVID-19. Be vigilant to avoid large groups, wash or sanitize your hands frequently and wear face masks when outside the home. Keep a close eye on symptoms and notify your doctor if you feel sick. Family members and caretakers should take the same precautions.


For upcoming webinars visit www.TexasOncologyFoundation.org.