Corona Virus
What people with cancer need to know

People with cancer on chemotherapy may be at higher risk of catching  COVID-19  according  to a statement  from ASCO.  Since last week advice has changed This post highlights how patients can reduce their risk of exposure, adopt lifestyle habits to help boost their immunity and what to do if they think their infected.

Avoiding exposure to corona virus:

Avoid close contact with people who are sick or at risk of developing the flu. Avoid traveling to high risk countries - although as the virus spreads this will be less relevant -  travel restrictions are regularly updated by the   World Health Organization (WHO)

If you are immune suppressed (such as on chemotherapy), don't exercise in confined spaces such as gyms - consider going for a run or walk outside in the fresh air instead. New, f rom this week, standard advice is now to self isolated, particularly during the middle to later part of the cycle.

If you think you have have contact, you do not need to call the hospital but be vigilant to symptoms of deteriorating health or a raised temperature.

If on radiotherapy, hormone therapies or in remission from cancer you should not be at an increased risk of catching or developing complications from the virus unless you have an underlying lung or heart problem.


Try to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, about the amount of time it would take to hum the Happy Birthday song from beginning to end twice. If soap and water is not available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. The best way to clean your hands, though, is through soap and water. In addition to washing your hands frequently, it's important to:
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • If you must cough or sneeze, use a tissue. Then throw the tissue away. Or, cough or sneeze into your elbow rather than your hand.
  • Cleaning frequently touched objects and surfaces with household cleaning spray or wipes. These surfaces and objects include doorknobs, counters, toilets, keyboards, tablets, phones, and more.
  • Avoid public gathering and socialise as little as possible

Face masks 

These are not recommended as a way to prevent COVID-19. However, if you are sick with a respiratory illness, such as influenza or COVID-19, wearing a face mask could prevent the illness from spreading to those around you.

Lifestyle factors which can help immunity


Although there is no direct evidence that the lifestyle measures will protect against corona, they can be linked to improved immune efficiency and better gut health so are a sensible precaution, which you have control over:

  • Regular moderate exercise (preferably outdoors) >>
  • Adequate mineral intake in food >>
  • Adequate but not excess vitamin intake >>
  • Good dietary omega 3 and 6 intake >>
  • High polyphenol intake >>
  • A healthy microbiota in skin, mucous membranes and gut >>
  • A good quality probiotic supplements >>
  • A prebiotic rich diet >>
  • Hot and cold showers >>
  • Reduce processed sugar >>
  • Stop smoking. >>
  • More house plants >>>

What to do if  you think I may have  coronavirus?

If you have a fever and other symptoms of a respiratory illness, such as cough and shortness of breath you should contact the healthy  service but in the mean time,  s taying home when you are sick is the best way to prevent transmitting the virus to other people.

If you are not on chemo or or other drugs which affect your immunity - contact your doctor  or the NHS advice line 111. 

If you feel unwell or develop a temperature, and on chemo or immune suppressants you should contact  the usual emergency numbers given to you by the oncology unit. If you also feel to may have come in contact with someone with corona virus symptoms   call ahead before visiting your health care professional  or the emergency department and let them know.

As mentioned above, if you have cancer but are not on immune suppressive treatments and think you have the virus follow the usual advice - NHS 111 or your GP and self isolate.

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