The Voice of Canadians With Breast Cancer

COVID-19
& Breast Cancer

COVID-19 and Breast Cancer: Resources and Updates for May 3rd to May 9th

If you think that you may have the COVID-19 virus, you can use this self-assessment tool. Links to the COVID-19 response from each province and territory, as well as their telehealth contact information, can be found here.


Emerging Research
The widely-shared study based on data from China helped to shed light on how cancer patients who were diagnosed with COVID-19 fared. It showed that they were considered high-risk, along with older people and those with other diseases. While the study was informative in mapping out which populations were more at risk, the information was based on limited data.

More studies are coming out which discuss how individuals with cancer respond when diagnosed with COVID-19. One study points out that the stage of cancer as well as type of cancer treatment can make a difference of how at-risk a patient will be, with early-stage cancer patients likely to have the same risk as those without cancer. Another study shows that while cancer patients who were diagnosed with COVID-19 were intubated at a higher rate than non-cancer patients, rate of death was similar between the two populations.

Another newly published study from New York provides further information into how different cancer patients with COVID-19 respond. While this study showed that cancer patients had a higher rate of serious events, it also showed that breast cancer patients seemed to have a lower rate of complications compared to patients with other types of cancer. It demonstrated that the patients with cancer who contracted COVID-19 and passed away from the disease had other comorbidities, were generally older and in poorer health. People undergoing cancer treatments but who were in generally good health otherwise seemed to do better in terms of recovering from COVID-19 and having fewer complications.

It’s important to note that these studies are based on limited data, but as this information and data continues to build, it will help patients and health care professionals better understand who is at risk from serious COVID-19 complications and who may fare better. Just because some people living with cancer have worse outcomes with a COVID-19 diagnosis, doesn’t mean that all people living with cancer will. It’s important that patients and cancer teams continue to work together to decide what is best for each individual patient.

Navigating COVID-19 and Breast Cancer
The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly concerning and challenging for many cancer patients and their families. Some cancer patients and survivors may be at higher risk of complications from COVID-19 because cancer and cancer treatments can contribute to weakened immune systems. This has left many patients with questions on how best to navigate their cancer care, including whether it is safe to continue their treatment, whether their health care will be de-prioritized by the healthcare system and how they can reduce their risk of contracting the virus.

CBCN has developed this factsheet to help answer some of the key questions patients and their families may have about continuing treatment during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Resources
All.Can Canada Initiative has launched a Transportation Subsidy that will subsidize taxi fares for cancer patients or their caregivers that are incurred when going to an appointment or when picking up medication. The subsidy is currently available to residents in Toronto and will be expanding to other cities soon.

Get Involved
This week, we are discussing the impacts of COVID-19 on your breast cancer-related treatment, surgery or check-up. Become a member of Canadian Breast Cancer Patient Network, our private Facebook group, to join the conversation.

Statistics Canada has developed short, crowdsourcing questionnaires to collect information on specific topics on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Canadian society. This week's questionnaire focuses on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Canadians' mental health. The survey can be accessed in both English and French. The deadline to participate is May 11th.

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