Cancer and Covid-19… Is there a trade-off?

“Cancer patients — and those who think they might have cancer — have already faced huge challenges this year, with many worried about coming forward to their GP or going into hospital to get tests because of the risk of getting COVID-19. And, with a huge backlog of patients still waiting for screening, diagnostic tests and treatments, we fear that there will be a negative impact on cancer survival.

That’s why, today, Cancer Research UK along with 50 leaders from across the NHS and cancer community have written to the Prime Minister and First Ministers in Scotland and Wales, and First and Deputy First Ministers of Northern Ireland….” See Here

The impact of the pandemic has and will continue to be enormous from a physical, mental, and economic perspective. Too many people have lost their jobs, too many are suffering from unceasing loneliness, too many have been unable to start or incapable to continue their medical treatment. The pandemic has not shown signs of disappearing yet. Some scientists and virology experts suggest that we all may have to get used to live with the virus in the years to come, and this possibility will require decisive action by governments, companies and all of us in the short- and longer-term.

We all know more about the virus and the measures to deal with it and to prevent it than we knew back in February. As the article from Cancer Research mentions, everything suggest that progress is actually happening. Governments, hospitals, and people seem to be making better decisions that are helping to slow down the contagion rate. Still the perspective of winter may increase the level of anxiety and the burden on medical assistance.

We must take responsibility and do our best in order to safeguard ourselves and others in these challenging circumstances. Cancer patients need to consider their options and discuss these options with their medical team. Is there anything that can be done during the next weeks and months to minimise the negative impact on their cancer treatment? Who and how specifically can be contacted, if required? What alternatives are available for continuing the treatment? When do decisions need to be made?

We have defiant circumstances ahead, particularly because the test and trace system systems cannot yet provide very sound information about contagion around each one of us. Consequently, in a season when we all strive for and could do with the physical and emotional togetherness of other years, the undertaking of Christmas in isolation and with so many anxieties will require all our energy and good willpower. It is a long tunnel to go through, and the little light at the end is barely visible. Still, we can and have to do it. The light is there.


Cancer Research UK (09/11/20). Learning the lessons of COVID-19: Protecting cancer services and research through the pandemic . Online at:




Specialist Cancer Coach looking after patients and caregivers

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Dr Carolina Valiente

Dr Carolina Valiente

Specialist Cancer Coach looking after patients and caregivers

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