While the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, doctors, researchers, and other medical professionals are still learning about the possible risks for mesothelioma patients. While there has yet to be any major publications or connections between the two illnesses, there is a significant amount of information regarding the risk of infections in general for cancer patients.
While there are steps everyone can take to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, mesothelioma patients and those with compromised immune systems need to understand the unique risks they face in terms of the virus. Let’s take a look at how mesothelioma patients should approach treating and staying safe from COVID-19.
What Mesothelioma Patients Need to Know About COVID-19
According to the American Cancer Society, it’s especially important for cancer patients to avoid being exposed to COVID-19. This is because those with cancer, like mesothelioma, are at a higher risk for serious illness if they get infected. This is particularly true for patients who are currently undergoing chemotherapy or a stem cell transplant. Treatments like that can severely weaken the immune system.
In addition to the risk of infection, the pandemic has also affected the way many people get medical care. For some patients with mesothelioma, this could mean a delay in having surgery or care that’s meant to keep the cancer from returning or growing.
As far as attending appointments goes, many clinics and infusion centers have made changes to how they provide in-person visits and treatments. Some of the most common changes include screening for COVID-19 symptoms ahead of a visit, proper spacing in waiting rooms and infusion chairs, and spacing out appointments to reduce the number of people in the office at any given time.
In addition to understanding how you’ll need to adapt to life during the pandemic, it’s also important to understand how to best avoid becoming infected with the novel coronavirus.
Best Practices for Avoiding COVID-19 Infection
In order to stay safe from COVID-19, there are a number of steps you should take in your home and when you’re out in public. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), elderly people and those who are considered immunocompromised should do what’s possible to avoid leaving their homes. We realize, however, this isn’t always realistic, which is why it’s important to know what to do if you’re heading out to the store or the hospital.
For all patients with mesothelioma or a potential diagnosis, patients should ask their healthcare team the following questions:
- In my situation, how can I prevent getting COVID-19?
- What symptoms of COVID-19 should I watch for?
- If I get tested and I’m positive for coronavirus, what will happen?
- If I get sick from COVID-19, will it affect my outlook or prognosis of my cancer?
- Will this outbreak or my coronavirus test result in delays or affect my care in any way?
For all cancer patients, there are some things they can do to prevent infection and illness. This includes washing your hands often, carrying alcohol-based sanitizer when you’re in public, avoiding large crowds, staying away from anyone who is sick, bathing every day, avoiding swimming in ponds, lakes, rivers, or water parks, wearing shoes all the time, staying away from standing water, and speaking with your doctor if you’re planning on traveling.
Managing COVID-19 as a Mesothelioma Patient
Even if you follow the best practices for avoiding the coronavirus, there’s still the chance you could get sick. Whether you picked it up from a hospital during a round of treatments for your mesothelioma or someone you know was ill and asymptomatic, it’s important to understand how to manage an infection like COVID-19 as a mesothelioma patient.
While doctors need to learn more about mesothelioma and COVID-19, the COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium and studies like the NCI COVID-19 in Cancer Patients study are actively collecting data and examining outcomes for cancer patients who develop the virus, in addition to looking at if certain anti-cancer treatments have an effect on those outcomes.
Currently, there are no treatments or supplements available that have been proven to prevent, treat, or cure COVID-19. In the event you contract the illness and have mesothelioma, consult your primary care physician and oncologist to determine what to do next. In most cases, you will be advised to stay home, get rest, and stay hydrated. It’s also important to separate yourself from others, monitor your symptoms, and regularly disinfect all high-touch surfaces.
Stay in touch with your doctor. In the event you start to experience trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, the inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face, seek emergency medical attention immediately.
Contact Frost Law Firm, PC for Mesothelioma Legal Information
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma in Hawaii, it’s possible that it could have developed as a result of occupational exposure, veterans’ exposure, or secondary exposure. Our Hawaii mesothelioma lawyers can evaluate your situation and help you determine if you’re eligible for compensation through a legal claim. Contact us today for more information.