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Covid-19 Leading To Changes In Breast Cancer Treatment

Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, breast cancer treatment cannot be neglected. Therefore, this post will brief you about the changes that occurred in breast cancer care without compromising on providing the necessary medication and treatments. Read to know.

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women. In India, the number of cases increases drastically every year with the increase in urbanization, change in lifestyle, and eating habits. During the pandemic of COVID-19, anyone detected with breast cancer or is undergoing breast cancer treatment is more prone to coronavirus infection as breast cancer and its treatment weakens the immunity of the patient. However, the fear of COVID-19 shouldn’t restrict the patient from taking necessary & regular treatment of breast cancer, and hence, cancer specialist hospitals like Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Center and others have changed the cancer care treatment keeping in mind the safety of patients and their staff. This post will brief you about the changes in breast cancer treatment during the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19.

1. Interaction with the cancer care team

Adhering to the new norms of the Covid-19 pandemic to prevent unnecessary travel or touching, the interaction with the cancer care team has changed to treat every patient safely. Teleconsultation is the medium to provide doctors consultation on the go. They do this to minimize the hospital visit and provide necessary consultations for cancer patients requiring follow-up visits, post-treatment care, and other necessary guidance or treatment even during odd or off days.

2. Screening schedule

The effective screening through the diagnosis of breast cancer is an important step during breast cancer treatment. However, during the outbreak of coronavirus, the screening procedures might get rescheduled or delay to be held at a safe time without compromising on the ongoing breast cancer treatment. Since most of the breast cancer patients don’t require urgent care, you can book an appointment with the specialized doctor for necessary treatments during COVID-19.

In severe cases, where the radiation is utmost needed, the oncologist uses the hypo fractionated schedules to treat breast cancer patients to the extent possible. These are the shorter duration radiation processes given to the patient to reduce the hospital time without disturbing the effectiveness of the treatment. For example, the use of radiation treatment for an early-stage breast cancer patient reduces the schedule for follow-ups from every week to every alternate week.

3. Chemotherapy

Since cancer is a disease divided into stages, the early stage detected breast cancer patients(stage I and II A) can avoid chemotherapy treatment during this pandemic. Immunosuppressive chemotherapy reduces the immunity of the patient drastically for up to one year. Hence, to maintain the safety of such patients, the oncologist may recommend avoiding chemo treatment and issue an alternative diagnostic. In case the chemotherapy is unavoidable, the cancer specialists may switch to oral chemotherapy as much as possible to reduce the dosage schedule in hospitals.

4. Special efforts during COVID-19

Early detection of dreadful diseases like cancer can help patients recover fast, preventing one to spend excessive amounts on treatment. The self-diagnosis process helps one detect cancer at an early stage and recover through treatment options like breast conservation, oncoplastic mammoplasty, and reconstructive procedures. Thus, it can prevent one from going through severe treatment procedures like chemotherapy and mastectomy that may include frequent hospital visits and prolonged hospital stay increases the chances of getting affected with coronavirus.

To promote the self-diagnosis processes, cancer treatment centers are putting in extra efforts during the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus in creating mass awareness about breast self-examination. This helps the patient become aware to connect the oncologist as soon as any symptoms of breast cancer are seen.

5. In-touch with oncologist digitally

During the pre-COVID-19 situation, patients mostly opted for physical visits to hospitals while the same purpose is being solved through the digital platforms using telemedicine via video call. Hence, one highly recommends patients to choose the telemedicine option to get in touch with an oncologist for necessary consultations during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the COVID-19 numbers are on the rising trend every single day, it is a virus that may not leave too soon in the foreseeable future. Considering the same, the pandemic should not affect the cancer patient treatments. Hence, the above change in breast cancer treatment is an effective way to get medical advice and diagnosis to the cancer patient without delaying the treatment procedures due to the prevailing pandemic.

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