Bhubaneswar: Hospitalization is must for Cancer patients who have Covid-19 symptoms, cautioned Dr Surendra Nath Senapati, a senior Oncologist of Acharya Harihar Post Graduate Institute of Cancer (AHPGIC), Cuttack here today.
“However, cancer patients who are infected with Covid-19 and have no symptoms of Covid yet having tested positive for the virus can be kept in home isolation with permission/advice of the doctor,” clarified Dr Senapati addressing a presser on sensitization of public on home isolation from the Geeta Govinda Sadan here today.
Cancer patients are more susceptible to be infected by Covid-19, he informed.
“Generally, it has been observed that cancer patients have very low immunity. So any person who is above 60 years of age, or is undergoing chemotherapy or suffering from blood cancer or lymphoma have very low immunity therefore, they are more likely to get infected with Covid-19,” said Dr Senapati.
Answering a query on whether cancer in itself or the medication that is given to cancer patients impairs their immunity, the senior Oncologist said that both the disease as well as the medication impairs immunity of a patient.
“So therefore a cancer patient is more vulnerable and has higher chances of getting infected with Coronavirus. Our experience says that immunity of especially those who are suffering from blood cancer or lymphoma gets decreased because of the disease. That apart, radiotherapy and chemotherapy to treat cancers also impair immunity of a person,” he explained.
Dr Senapati however, clarified that those who have conquered cancer maintain similar immunity power like that of a normal person so their vulnerability of getting infected with coronavirus is similar to that of a normal person.
The senior Oncologist said that in some cases when a cancer patient is undergoing chemotherapy as part of his/her cancer treatment and in the meanwhile gets infected with Covid-19 in some cases the chemotherapy cycle is deferred. On the other hand in emergency cases, low dose chemotherapy is administered to the patient and in some cases, hormone therapy or targeted therapy in form of tablets etc is advised to the patient, he added.
Responding to a query that some cancer patients have stopped treatment of their disease fearing of getting the Covid-19 infection while visiting hospitals for cancer treatment, Dr Senapati cautioned that it is not proper to stop treatment of cancer fearing corona as it would allow cancer to grow and if a patient in stage 1 or 2 skips treatment and again takes up treatment at stage 3 or 4 his/her survival chances are very low.
He informed that the State Government has made all arrangements at district headquarters hospitals for the administration of chemotherapy, therefore patients need not come to AHPGIC Cuttack and can avail the same treatment at the district headquarters hospitals as per the regimen fixed by the doctors of AHPGIC.
He further said that cancer patients can avail benefits of telemedicine facility at district headquarters hospital and that apart can consult doctors of AHPGIC through telephone.
Cancer patients should not risk their chances of survival by stopping treatment of cancer fearing Covid-19 infection, he added.