Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for people with cancer
If you have cancer, it's understandable you might be worried about coronavirus. Here is the latest guidance.
On this page
- The latest guidance about coronavirus and cancer
- How can I protect myself from coronavirus?
- Is it safe for me to get the vaccine?
- Will my cancer treatment be affected by coronavirus?
- I am worried I have coronavirus. What should I do?
- I am worried I have cancer. What should I do?
- I have recovered from cancer. Am I more vulnerable to coronavirus?
- I am in a vulnerable group. Do I still need to shield?
- Resources from other organisations
- What support is available?
- How we can help
Updated Monday 13 September
As coronavirus restrictions ease, it is understandable that this might be a worrying and uncertain time for people living with cancer. We have information about the support that's available, as well as advice to help you stay safe and cope with uncertainty. Read more about the easing of coronavirus restrictions.
Coronavirus is a viral infection that affects the lungs. Anyone who has a weakened immune system is more at risk of being seriously ill if they get coronavirus (COVID-19). Some people with cancer may be at a higher risk of getting coronavirus (COVID-19). It is important to follow the advice from the NHS and your healthcare team.
We understand many people are anxious about the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on their health and on cancer care. It is important to follow the advice from the NHS and your healthcare team.
It is important that you follow the latest government advice. Visit government websites for coronavirus guidance in:
There are things you can do to protect yourself and others:
- Get a coronavirus vaccine when it is offered to you
- Wear a mask when you are with other people or outside your house. This must cover your mouth and nose.
- Avoid places that are very busy
- Try to stay 2 metres away from other people
- Clean your hands often
- Keep rooms well-ventilated
- Book a test if you think you have coronavirus.
Many people with cancer have been anxious about the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on their treatment and care. They may also have been worried that having treatment could put them more at risk of becoming very unwell with coronavirus.
The advice for people with cancer is please continue with your treatment and care plan as agreed with your healthcare team. Your healthcare team will talk with you about your treatment and appointments.
We have more information about coronavirus and cancer treatment.
The symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are:
- a new, continuous cough and/or
- a high temperature
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
Do I need to self-isolate?
You should self-isolate (stay at home all the time) for 10 days if:
- you have symptoms even if the symptoms are mild
- someone you live with or have been in contact with has symptoms or had a positive test
- you have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.
You can find more information about self-isolation.
Should I be tested for coronavirus?
You can order a test to do at home. Or you can get a free NHS test if you have symptoms of coronavirus. You should arrange this as soon as possible. A trained person will test you. They will usually swab the back of your throat and your nose. The swab looks like a long cotton bud.
You may be tested if you are due to have surgery or a medical procedure. Your hospital team will discuss this with you.
You can read more about arranging a test in:
If you have finished cancer treatment or have had cancer in the past, you may be worried about your risk of coronavirus. Coronavirus is a viral infection that affects the lungs. Anyone who has a weakened immune system is more at risk of being seriously ill if they get coronavirus (COVID-19). Talk to your GP or hospital team if you are worried about your risk of being seriously ill if you get coronavirus.
We have more information about coronavirus after cancer treatment.
Shielding restrictions have eased in the UK. Government advice is that people should follow the guidance for the COVID alert level in their area. Visit government websites for guidance on what you should and should not do in:
The government has also set out detailed information for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from coronavirus.
Coronavirus resources in accessible formats
We have listed some organisations and websites that have accessible coronavirus information in other formats and languages. This includes links to easy read booklets and British Sign Language (BSL) content. These resources are not specifically for people living with cancer but you may find them helpful.You can also find our cancer-specific information in a range of different formats.
Coronavirus resources for communities
We have listed some websites that provide information on how coronavirus has impacted certain communities.
- Race Equality Foundation has information about risk factors of coronavirus and the impact on black and minority ethnic communities. You can also download the COVID-19 and Black and Minority Ethnic Communities easy read leaflet (PDF).
- Stonewall has information about how coronavirus is affecting LGBT communities and a list of organisations that can support you.
- Friends, Families and Travellers has advice and support for gypsy, traveller and boater communities. There is information for local authorities and organisations that support the travelling community as well as some information for travellers themselves.
Macmillan Cancer Support are doing the best we can to support people. You can:
- access our Cancer Information and Support section on the website to get up to date information about living with cancer and getting support
- visit our support services, delivered over the phone or online
- sign up to our Telephone Buddies service for someone to talk to
- connect to SafeFit. This is a free remote service that connects you with a cancer exercise specialist to help you stay fit and healthy.
- talk to our No7 Boots Macmillan Beauty Advisors who can give make-up and skincare advice to help with the side effects of cancer treatment.
If something is worrying you and you need to talk, we're here to listen. From questions about coronavirus, to cancer treatment, to financial advice, we're here for you.
Find out more about the Macmillan teams that are here to support you.