People with breast cancer have a higher risk of developing COVID-19A due to a weakened immune system due to surgery and/or treatment. And, if they contract COVID-19, the resulting illness can potentially be more serious for someone with cancer. The delays in cancer treatment and screening have also caused potentially life-threatening situations for people with breast cancer.
However, for breast cancer patients the overall risk of dying from COVID-19 appears to be low. Breast cancer survivors and Covid survivors far exceed deaths from COVID-19.
In this article, we investigate the many ways in which Covid is dangerous for cancer patients and the added risks that COVID-19 may pose to people with breast cancer. We also describe ways to manage these risks.
Increased Vulnerability to COVID-19 Infection
Breast cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy, and radiation can weaken the immune system during treatment. And, unfortunately, the trip to the hospital for treatment can significantly increase the risk of exposure.
Covid and Breast Cancer Risks
A person who is receiving treatment for breast cancer or who has recently completed the treatment likely has an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 due to a weakened immune system which makes them particularly susceptible to catching COVID-19.
Worsened Symptoms of COVID-19
A person with a weakened immune system — due to cancer treatment, for example — may be more likely to experience severe symptoms of COVID-19, particularly in people with breast cancer that has spread to the lungs, as COVID-19 is a respiratory disease.
Prescription drug concerns
Getting pain medication during Covid for breast pain has also been increasingly challenging due to the disruption in the supply chain of medications and the raw materials for them. Plan ahead and ask about the possibility of getting more medication with each refill, in order to stock up.
What Precautions to Take
The following strategies can help a person with cancer stay safe:
- Do not visit a doctor’s office, hospital, or emergency room unless it is absolutely necessary.
- Wash hands frequently with warm water and soap.
- Stay home whenever possible and try to have food and other essentials delivered.
- If any symptoms of COVID-19 arise, contact a doctor to get tested for COVID-19 with a Covid Antigen Test, PCR Test, or Fit to Fly Covid Test (if traveling).
Our trusted Pharmacists at Anna Pharmacy can you with any of your healthcare concerns about treatment or medication for COVID and/or breast cancer. We are always at the cutting edge of treatment and healthcare, so we are able to offer the best service to our valued customers.