Cancer treatment and coronavirus
You might be worried about how coronavirus will impact cancer treatment. Here are the answers to some common treatment questions.
On this page
- Cancer treatment and coronavirus
- Coronavirus vaccine and cancer treatment
- How should I prepare for cancer treatment?
- When you are having treatment
- Finishing cancer treatment
- If you have had cancer in the past
- Easing of coronavirus restrictions
- Getting help and support with coronavirus
- How we can help
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. Doctors continue to consider each person’s individual situation. Your healthcare team will talk with you about your treatment and appointments.
If you have questions about your treatment, you can ask your team.
The NHS continues to work hard to maintain delivery of cancer services. Macmillan aims to work in partnership with the NHS and also deliver direct support. Our support includes:
- information if you are going through tests, diagnosis or treatment
- access to our support line teams
- financial support to help you cope if you have money worries.
It is important that you look after your health and well-being before you start cancer treatment. This is called prehabilitation. This means making sure you are as healthy as possible before starting your treatment. The immune system helps to protect us from infection and disease. It also protects us from viruses like coronavirus (COVID-19). Some things you can do to look after your immune system are:
- keep active
- eat well
- get enough to drink
- get enough sleep
- look after your emotional and mental well being.
We have some advice about looking after your immune system. It includes information about staying active and eating well.
Cancer services continue to ensure that diagnosis, treatment and care is available for everyone who needs it. Your healthcare team will talk with you about your treatment and appointments. If you have any concerns or questions about your treatment, please speak to your team.
You may have some of your appointments by phone or by video consultation. We have some tips to help you prepare for these kinds of appointments.
- Top tips for virtual consultations with your GP
- Top tips for virtual consultations with other healthcare professionals
You may notice some changes at the hospital clinic:
- You will be asked if you have coronavirus symptoms
- You will probably be tested for coronavirus if you are coming to hospital for cancer treatment
- You may be asked to self-isolate before treatment. It is important to follow the advice given by your healthcare team.
- If your immune system is compromised you may be seen in a separate area from other patients. You will usually get your cancer treatment in a room or area where you can be observed, and your treatments can be given safely.
- You will have to wear a mask while at the hospital or clinic.
- All staff will wear personal protective equipment (PPE) usually an apron, gloves and surgical mask.
- Hospital staff, even if they have no symptoms, have regular coronavirus tests.
- the chemotherapy care line
- the Acute Oncology Service at the hospital where you have your treatment
- the number you were given by your hospital team in the event of an urgent query.
If you 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). Your risk will depend on:
- the type of cancer you have had
- the type of treatment you have had
- when you finished treatment
- your general health.
Most people with cancer will recover well from treatment. Their immune system will usually recover in a few months. They will not be more at risk of being seriously unwell if they get coronavirus. We have information about looking after yourself and staying well.
As coronavirus restrictions are starting to 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.
Macmillan Cancer Support are doing the best we can to support people. If coronavirus is worrying you, there is help available and people to talk to. From questions about coronavirus, to cancer treatment, to financial advice, we're here for you. Find out more about different support options and how you can speak to someone
You can also:
- 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.