COVID-19 and Cancer Care: At Millennium Cancer Center
Knowing that you have cancer is frightening and overwhelming, and with the current pandemic of COVID-19, it adds another layer of anxiety. Does this mean that the treatment can be stopped or delayed in this situation? (The answer is No.)
Cancer will not wait for this pandemic to pass. All screenings, investigations, treatments should continue at their scheduled period. However, any unnecessary visit to the hospital or doctor can be avoided and a tele-consultation can be encouraged.
According to The Lancet report (March 2020), the COVID-19 pandemic has left an unprecedented impact on health care institutions. The patients suffering from Cancer are already immunocompromised and feels in the category of ‘high-risk’ population. And with the focus shifting to Coronavirus, there is more than 60% delay in appointments, rescheduling, and cancellation of chemotherapy visits, surgeries as well as radiation. More than 50% of the cancer-related research projects are currently put on hold and almost 70% of the screening procedures are not conducted as before.
We, at Millennium Cancer Center (MCC), believe firmly that your health comes first, and with this pandemic, safety is still a top priority. As a cancer institution, we recommend that all patients with their upcoming appointments should contact their oncology teams for specific guidance pertaining to their treatment.
What is MCC doing as safety measures?
At MCC, we are implementing all safety and infection control policies to safeguard our patients and caretakers.
- Compulsory thermal screening for all employees, doctors, patients, and visitors.
- A thorough COVID-19 assessment questionnaire which is filled by the visitors and our nursing team to evaluate the ‘high-risk’ population.
- All disinfection protocols with WHO and CDC recommended chemicals are in place.
- Infrastructure to support the doctors and nursing staff by encouraging them to wear Personal Protective Gear.
- Compulsory wearing of surgical masks by all employees.
- Strict adherence to the norms of social and safe distancing.
- All appointments are scheduled in a way to minimize the crowding at our clinic and daycare center. Emergency visits and progressive stages of cancer are given preference.
- Only one visitor is allowed per patient to enter our daycare center.
- Our 24×7 helpline to serve the patients in distress.
- Our clinical coordinators are always ready to assess the patients’ condition for a possible tele-opinion to minimize the risk of traveling.
Is MCC canceling chemotherapy or consultation treatments?
No. We are not canceling patient appointments. Cancer does not stop for COVID-19, and treatment is critically important for our patients. While in some situations, it may be more appropriate to reschedule or convert an appointment to a telehealth visit, please know that each appointment is evaluated on an individual basis by the provider and patient.
Can I reschedule my appointment at MCC?
We must be thoughtful and deliberate in our decisions to reschedule patients because we don’t want to delay their care, unless necessary. Led by a team of oncologists and physicians, MCC has put measures in place to continue to have cancer patients screened, diagnosed, and treated under appropriate health and safety protocols. If rescheduling appointments are needed, this will be discussed between the doctor and patient on a case-by-case basis and an appropriate time frame will be determined.
Is MCC providing tele-consultations?
Yes, we are committed to provide the best patient care through our tele and video consultation services. This helps in meeting patients’ clinical needs and bringing the expert cancer care near their home.
Is Travelling to MCC an issue?
No. All state and local authorities understand the situation of our patients and they are allowing patient visits with the help of an authorized letter from our doctors.
If you are a cancer survivor or inactive treatment and are concerned about how the COVID-19 situation may impact you or your care, please contact our care team at Millennium Cancer Center.