Credit for Photo: engin akyurt
âWhen I first heard about the novel coronavirus, as a 7-year cancer survivor, I wondered if I fell into the category of people who had a higher risk of contracting the virus, due to a compromised immune system. My first thought was that I should not be at risk since it had been a few years since my last surgery and almost 7-years since undergoing chemotherapy. Back then I knew that my immune system was compromised, and my oncologist said to use caution and steer away from large crowds and that included my church. When I attended church, I was supposed to sit as far away from other church members as possible and if I could not do that, I was supposed to wear a mask. At the time, my preference was to sit as far away from others as possible, because I could not bear the idea of wearing a mask as it would be embarrassing to draw attention to myself and have to answer questions about why I was wearing a mask. My how things have changed in this time of COVID-19. Now I am unashamed to wear a mask to the grocery store, walk our dog around the neighborhood and watching church services online from the comfort of my home.
âStill, this fear lingered as whether I had a compromised immune system seven years out from chemo treatments? I searched the internet and came across a posting from the Cancer.Net website that provided a lot more information than what I could find on the CDC website. I was extremely interested in the response to a posted question, âDoes a history of cancer raise your risk for health complications from COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2)?â In summary and their response, âIt appears that patients with cancer and survivors of cancer may be at higher risk of health complications from COVID-19.â Here I've been walking around thinking that my cancer treatment had been so long ago, that I didnât have a compromised immune system.
Knowing this information certainly changes my perspective and makes me more aware about ensuring the safety me and my family. This also serves as a reminder that I need to update my cancer survivorship care plan with possible links to reputable cancer website that I can turn to for medical advice should future outbreaks occur.
Cancer Survivor helping you become your own best advocate.