Cancer treatment and coronavirus

4 minute read time.

We know that coronavirus (COVID-19) is still affecting everyone’s life dramatically. But for people with cancer and their friends and families, the pandemic may create even more concerns. This blog is part of a short series about cancer and the coronavirus from Macmillan’s Cancer Information Development Team. This blog is about cancer treatment and coronavirus.

Many people with cancer are anxious about the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on their treatment and care. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, you may be concerned about getting the treatment you need. You may also be worried that having treatment could put you more at risk of coronavirus. In this blog, we will answer some common treatment questions.

For the latest information from Macmillan about coronavirus and cancer treatment, visit this page.

What will happen to my cancer treatment?

The advice for people with cancer is please continue with your treatment and care plan as agreed with your healthcare team. Doctors will continue to look at each person’s individual situation. Your healthcare team will talk with you about your treatment and appointments. If you have any concerns or questions about your treatment, please speak to your team.

You may have some of your appointments by phone or by video consultation. We have some tips to help you prepare for these kinds of appointments.

How should I prepare for cancer treatment?

It’s really important that you look after your health and well-being before your cancer treatment. You can do this by being physically active, eating well and looking after your mental well-being.

The immune system helps to protect us from infection and disease. It also protects us from viruses like coronavirus (COVID-19). We have some advice about looking after your immune system. It includes information about staying active and eating well.

What is being done to keep cancer patients safe while getting treatment?

You may notice some changes at the hospital clinic:

  • You will be asked if you have coronavirus symptoms.
  • You will probably be tested for coronavirus if you are coming to hospital for cancer treatment.
  • You may be asked to self-isolate before treatment. It is important to follow the advice given by your healthcare team.
  • If your immune system is compromised you may be seen in a separate area from other patients. You will usually get your cancer treatment in a room or area where you can be observed, and your treatments can be given safely.
  • You will have to wear a mask while at the hospital or clinic.
  • All staff will wear personal protective equipment (PPE) usually an apron, gloves and surgical mask.
  • Hospital staff, even if they have no symptoms, have regular coronavirus tests.

Who can I talk to if I’m worried about my treatment or coronavirus?

You may find it helpful to talk to your cancer healthcare team who can answer any questions you might have about your treatment.

If something is worrying you and you need to talk, we're here for you. From questions about coronavirus or cancer treatment, to worries about work and money.

To speak to our experts, you can:

Find out more about the Macmillan teams that are here to support you.

We have more information about coronavirus if you have cancer and information for people who have had cancer in the past and are worried about their risk.

To see what else Macmillan's cancer information team has been blogging about, please visit our blog home page! You can subscribe to receive our blogs by email or RSS too.

We're with you every step of the way

The Macmillan team is here to help. Our cancer support specialists can answer your questions, offer support, or simply listen if you need a chat. Call us free on 0808 808 00 00.

Comments? Feel free to add them below (you need to be logged in).

  • Does anyone know how long you have to wait to get Thyroid gland removed?  I am waiting for Thyroidectomy since April

  • Hi

    I am sorry to hear that you are waiting for a Thyroidectomy. You may find it helpful to talk to your cancer healthcare team who might be able to give you more information.

    You might also find it helpful to talk to one of our cancer information nurses if you are worried about the wait. You can call 0808 808 00 00 if you have any questions, between 8am and 8pm. Or to talk to a cancer information nurse specialist on our online chat, go to ‘Ask an expert’, which you can find at the top of the Online Community web page.

  • Just thought I'd give a shout out for "Patients Know Best" - This is an on line system linking all your hospital records for you and the healthcare team to see. It tells you by email any time your record has been updated either for a new appointment or for test results etc. It may only apply to the Healthcare trusts involved in my treatment, as I don't know if it is available to everyone, anywhere in the UK. But I can recommend getting set up with it, if it is available to you. It has been very good for me to see all my appointments, well before a letter arrives in the post, which is often too late for a short notice change. I had the pre op covid swab test on Saturday, and had the negative result posted yesterday, so good to go tomorrow.