We understand that people with cancer are worried about coronavirus. Here is the latest guidance. We will update it regularly.

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Do you have a question about cancer? Our Digital Nurse Ellen or one of our specialist nurses will aim to respond within 2 working days.

Covid-19 and vulnerable groups

Invictus1955
Posted by

Hello,

I realise that you currently are receiving many requests for help and advice re. Covid-19 and you will likely have already answered my concerns, however I have not been able to find an answer to my query.

Which is: I am 64 years old (13/10/1955) and live alone. In 2014 I was diagnosed with Squamous Cell Cancer (SCC), the primary site was at the base of my tongue, with further cancerous cells indentified within my Lymphatic system. My treatment consisted of 30+ sessions of Radiotherapy, 6 or 7 sessions of Chemotherapy (Cisplatin) and surgery. The surgery consisted of a tonsillectomy and a neck dissection that removed all connective Lymph tissue from the right of my neck and into the area of the collar bone. The treatment was completed at the end of June 2014 and had continuous regular consultations with my oncologist to monitor the situation. This included a PET scan which was unable to detect any cancerous tissue remaining. I was discharged as of early 2018. I apologise for all the back-ground information but I feel it is important.

My question is, has my immunity system been compromised sufficiently by the surgical procedures that I should consider myself to fall into the vulnerable group with pre-existing long term health conditions? Obviously as current advice stands my age (ie. under 70) is not a factor.

I would really appreciate any help, advice or guidance you could give me. I have had no joy on the NHS and Government websites as the information given is so general.

best wishes

"In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed."
 
 

Steph - Macmillan
Posted by

@Invictus1955

Hello

Thank you so much for your question and I am sorry that we haven’t yet been able to respond.

Although we’ve had to close the session for new questions, our nurses will be posting a response to any existing questions as soon as they possibly can. We really appreciate your patience at this extremely busy time and hope you’re ok.

Please remember that if you are experiencing any new or worsening symptoms, you should contact your GP or specialist medical team as your first priority.

In case it’s useful, we have information about Coronavirus on our website. For more information, including what to do if you have symptoms and how to reduce the risk of infection, please visit the NHS website.

Thank you for being part of the Community.

Take care,

Steph
Online Community Officer
Elise - Macmillan
Posted by

Hello Invictus1955,

Thanks for getting in touch. This is understandably a worrying and confusing time for everyone in relation to coronavirus.

For most people who complete chemotherapy or radiotherapy the impact on the immune system is temporary.

Major surgery can also cause the immune system to struggle for up to few months but again, for most people it returns to normal.

We are being guided in our information from the daily updates provided by the government and as such you would currently not be in the “increased risk “group (unless you have been advised to get the annual flu jab on medical grounds in which case you would be considered to be in the increased risk group)

However, as you know, we have ALL been advised to adopt social distancing measures and we would suggest that you are particularly stringent with them due to the extent of your surgery.

As new information emerges, the NHS Coronavirus page will be updated.

We are also aiming to keep providing information which is specific to people with a cancer diagnosis through our Cancer and Coronavirus page.

If you have concerns about symptoms please follow the latest NHS111 guidance. There is also some helpful information here about looking after your mental health during this time.

I hope this information is helpful.

Best wishes and take care,

Elise

Cancer Information Nurse Specialist