If there ever was a time to be impatient that science takes time, it is as the world faces the COVID-19 pandemic. But if there was ever a time to be grateful for science, it is now as well. If it wasn’t for science, we wouldn’t know what this virus is, be able to test for it or be able to study vaccines to prevent it or ways to treat it.
For now, though, the best we can all do is socially isolate. But this really needs to be thought of as physically isolating. We need to stay socially and emotionally connected with friends and family. And thanks to the internet, this is possible!
So, please, for all the healthcare workers, store workers, and delivery drivers who are on the front lines, please isolate yourselves and wash your hands! We can all do our part to flatten the curve and keep the healthcare system from having to try to operate beyond its capacity.
What about those of us who are being treated for cancer or who are cancer survivors? It appears that people who are at higher risk of getting very sick are those on active treatment and have a compromised immune system. Hormonal therapy does not affect the immune system, but chemotherapy, which decreases the number of white blood cells, does. Immunotherapy, some targeted therapies, and radiation can also affect the immune system.
To keep cancer patients safe, cancer centers are changing their protocols and using telehealth whenever possible. One of our partners, BreastCancerTrials.org, is collecting information about COVID-19 for breast cancer patients on its website MetastaticTrialTalk.org. The information you will find there is for all women and men with breast cancer — not just those who are metastatic. It will be updated daily. Spread the word!