Lung Cancer

30 August, 2020

To prevent the lung cancer patients from getting affected with coronavirus, this post will brief you about the risk associated, the signs and symptoms, lung cancer treatment and preventive measures to be taken during COVID-19

Lung cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers among people above 65 years of age. Patients with lung cancer are twice more prone to exposure to infections like coronavirus, compared to the general population. Thus, it is imperative for lung cancer patients to know all the important things about COVID-19 and take lung cancer treatment from their cancer specialist hospital offering changed treatment care processes keeping the coronavirus measures in mind.

Signs and symptoms of Coronavirus in the lung cancer patient:

Since COVID-19 is an infection creating respiratory issues like cough, shortness of breath, inflammation in the lungs, etc., its diagnosis gets critical among lung cancer patients. Sometimes the symptoms of lung cancer can also be dodgy since the symptoms can overlap with other conditions. For example, some patients who received radiation may also develop inflammation in the lung as pneumonitis, which is also one of the symptoms for COVID-19.

However, if any of the below symptoms are visible to lung cancer patients, approximately 2-14 days after exposure to infection, they should consult experts for further diagnostic and treatment. The symptoms include (but not limited to):

  • Fever
  • Persistent Cough
  • Shortness of breath or worsening of breathing pattern
  • Loss of taste or smell

Risks associated with lung cancer patients:

Lung cancer patients are more prone to coronavirus because of two reasons:

  1. Most of these patients are of the age of 65 years or above, which is also the population at high risk for coronavirus infection.
  2. Severe lung cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiations suppress the patient’s immune system, making them at high risk for such infections and severe complications.

As per the experiences from Wuhan, they observed that people with lung cancer disease showed double the risk to exposure for coronavirus infection than the public.

Treatment for lung cancer patients during COVID-19:

With regard to the new norms during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are changes cancer specialist hospitals have adapted while offering the treatment by keeping the safety of the patients and staff intact. Below are the different ways through which patients can avail the lung cancer treatment during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

  • To limit the number of times cancer patients have to visit the hospitals, the cancer specialist centres have promoted the practice of telemedicine. This practice helps the patient to consult the specialized doctor when in need, like follow-up visits, treatment during an emergency, front-line treatment, etc. Hence, each patient can avail the benefit of personalized consultation via their doctor without visiting the hospital.
  • Teleconsultation is yet another effective way of treating patients 24/7.
  • During the early stages of cancer, when the delay of treatments is acceptable, the oncologist may recommend avoiding treatments like chemotherapy, etc. during the COVID-19 situation as it suppresses the immune system drastically and can make the patient vulnerable to infections.
  • Regular discussions and deliberations between doctor and lung cancer patients help in educating them about preventive measures to curb the risk of comorbidity of lung cancer with coronavirus infection.

Preventive Measures:

Considering the risk of lung cancer patients to the coronavirus, it is highly recommended applying the following preventive measures without neglecting the treatment to reduce the risk of getting infected.

  • Deep cleaning of hands regularly for at least 20 seconds. Make it a habit during activities like before and after eating a meal, after using the wash roomor blowing the nose, coughing or sneezing, before and after coming in contact with any other person like doing the handshake, etc.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth and be extra cautious about not doing it.
  • Avoid being a part of a large crowd or in close contact with anyone who is sick or is experiencing infection like cold, cough, flu, fever, etc.
  • Use of sanitizer with more than 60% alcohol when going out.
  • Avoid going out and follow self-isolation if one observes any above-mentioned symptoms.
  • Regular sanitization of an entire home or places that are touched frequently like a doorbell, door handles, etc.

Since lung cancer patients are already dealing with a dreadful disease, knowing about the risks, symptoms, treatment, and preventive measures during Covid-19 will help them not get exposed to the coronavirus infection. This will not just help in reducing the numbers of coronavirus patients, but it will also help in reducing the mortality rate.

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