During the pandemic period, individuals not applying to health institutions for fear of COVID-19 can prevent early diagnosis of cancer and reduce the chance of treatment. In this process, it is recommended that cancer patients who should not disrupt their control and treatment should get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. Emphasizing that individuals should definitely consult a specialist as soon as they notice symptoms that may indicate the disease in themselves, Prof. Dr. Umut Demirci made important suggestions to cancer patients during the pandemic process.
Cancer age is falling
Cancer is an important public health problem in our country as well as all over the world. In our country, which is similar to cancers seen all over the world; Prostate, lung and colorectal cancers are most common in men, and breast, lung and colorectal cancers are common in women. However, there are differences in our country such as the more frequent follow-up of upper digestive system cancers such as stomach and esophagus and the younger age of breast cancer.
Cancer disease increases the risk of coronavirus
As of March 2020, the COVID-19 epidemic, which is accepted as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), has negative effects in terms of health as in all areas of our lives. Additional diseases, especially those with advanced age, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases, also increase the risk of COVID-19. Cancer patients are also the group with the highest risk of coronavirus. COVID-19 infection has a worse prognosis in cancer patients, especially in advanced age, chemotherapy, metastatic cancer and poor general condition.
Cancer patients should definitely get the COVID-19 vaccine
It is highly recommended that cancer patients have COVID-19 vaccines approved for the protection of cancer patients. In oncology guidelines, it is recommended for cancer patients to vaccinate as soon as possible, whichever vaccine is available.
Patients receiving active treatment should stay away from work for a while.
Cancer patients should pay attention to their social and personal precautions during the pandemic period. It is recommended that patients who are in active treatment period and especially those who receive chemotherapy should not continue their work life if possible. Patients who have completed their treatments and are on follow-up can be evaluated for their studies in a controlled manner.
Do not delay your doctor's check-ups due to pandemic.
Due to COVID-19, screening and diagnostic tests of patients are delayed, especially in oncology practice, and significant delays are experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Patients keep their complaints waiting due to the pandemic risk and do not apply to health centers. However, diagnostic examinations and surgeries are postponed in health centers due to the risk of COVID-19. This waiting period delays the diagnosis stage in patients and a group of cancer patients lose the chance of complete cure (curative) treatment. Delays and changes in treatment in patients diagnosed with cancer cause negative consequences. During the pandemic period, it is vital that the patients have the necessary tests done and continue their treatment in the centers where appropriate precautions are taken and by paying attention to their personal precautions.
However, it is among the expectations that a large number of lung tomography for the evaluation of COVID-19 will increase the diagnosis of incidental lung cancer.
Delay of treatment has negative consequences
Oncology clinics continue their practices by taking all necessary precautions in terms of pandemic. During the COVID-19 period, oncologists evaluate the severity of the patient and the disease and make adjustments to the treatments of their patients. In the choice of treatment, oral (oral) treatments are preferred whenever possible and hospital visits are tried to be reduced. Although there is a risk of pandemics, oncological diseases and delays in our patients in this period have serious negative consequences.
Take your complaints seriously
During the pandemic process, people should definitely take into account the new symptoms that develop physically and mentally outside their daily routine. It is important to be careful about all complaints, especially weight loss, increased and worsening cough, shortness of breath, and change in defecation habits, and it is important to consult a health center as soon as possible.