We know that there is increased risk of serious complications for those who are over the age of 65, have underlying medical conditions or who have a compromised immune system. Anyone who is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer, and even those who have completed treatments in recent years, are considered part of this high-risk population. Our hope is that communities can come together, by staying apart, to help protect the most vulnerable.
Breast Cancer and COVID-19
As Canada responds to the global COVID-19 pandemic, some cancer centres have begun postponing scheduled breast cancer surgeries in preparation for an expected influx of COVID-19 patients. This has led some breast cancer patients to express concerns about delays in their surgical treatment and care.
The Canadian Breast Cancer Network (CBCN) shares these concerns. “It is natural for patients to be concerned about delays to their treatment and to fear any progression of their cancer,” states Cathy Ammendolea, CBCN board Chair. "As someone who has had a personal, lived experience with this disease, I know first-hand the anxiety that accompanies any delay in your treatment plan.”
In these challenging times, cancer agencies are facing an unprecedented scenario that requires changes and reductions in access to care in order to contain this global health crisis. However, it remains imperative that health officials continue to proactively plan for how best to serve all patients - particularly vulnerable cancer patients. CBCN urges provincial governments and cancer agencies to ensure that cancer patients are being adequately informed of any delays to their surgical treatment and that there is a mechanism in place to appropriately address patients’ questions and concerns during this crisis.
The Canadian Breast Cancer Network remains committed to working with health authorities to ensure that the needs of breast cancer patients in Canada are being addressed.
Where can you find out more information about COVID-19 and cancer?
Here are some informative and credible resources:
The Canadian Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society
General COVID-19 information, as well as the latest updates can be found on the Public Health Agency of Canada website.
Should you have specific questions about your treatments and scheduled appointments, contact your cancer centre or health care team directly and they can provide you with specific information regarding the measures that are being taken at that centre.