Clinical

How has Breast Cancer Care been affected by COVID-19?

It is well known that COVID-19 has caused many issues in the medical field because of the hardships it creates for medical professionals in respect to time and effort. A lot of the ways medical centers have ran have changed due to COVID-19. One process that has changed pretty drastically is breast cancer treatment because a patient diagnosed with breast cancer is at a higher risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus, thus putting them in more risk than earlier. Also another problem was that since the appearance of COVID-19 was very abrupt, many treatments for breast cancer patients were delayed. So medical professionals searched for more safer protocols for breast cancer treatment during the pandemic to ensure the safety of patients.

Some of the guidelines passed by medical centers are pretty standard COVID-19 protocols like wearing masks and social distancing at all times. However there are some specific safety strategies for the prevention of the spread of virus for cancer patients. For example there are required COVID-19 tests before any type of cancer treatment. This enables healthcare workers to quickly identify if cancer treatment is safe for patients, because as I mentioned earlier, people with breast cancer have higher risks when coming to the virus. This is because there are certain breast cancer treatments, like chemotherapy, that can increase a patient’s chances of contracting the Coronavirus. Many breast cancer treatments rely on weakening the immune system, which is what the coronavirus feeds on. The immune systems typically recovers around 2-3 months after breast cancer treatments. This means the COVID-19 virus has a timeframe of 2-3 months to enter a patient and wreak havoc on their bodies, which are already weak due to cancer.

While protocol has changed for breast cancer patients, so has the treatment itself. For example the number of planned surgeries has gone down steadily because health administrators believe that lowering surgeries is important for the safety of the patients. Too many surgeries can leave a patient more exposed to the COVID-19 virus than before. So to make up for the lack of surgeries, other methods of treatment have been implemented, for example NET chemotherapy usage has increased. Healthcare professionals are taking whatever measures are necessary in order to protect breast cancer patients to the coronavirus.

All in all medical caregivers are taking whatever measures possible to lessen the exposure of breast cancer patients to the coronavirus. These patients are already under huge stress and pain, and there should be no reason for their suffering should extend. Hopefully this pandemic is over soon, and these breast cancer patients can get whatever treatment they need to combat cancer.

Sources:

https://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/covid-19-and-breast-cancer-care

https://www.pharmacytimes.com/view/covid-19-pandemic-forces-changes-in-breast-cancer-treatment

https://www.adventisthealth.org/blog/2020/october/covid-19-and-breast-cancer-treatment-combatting-/

Categories: Clinical