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You might be wondering how high your risk of getting sick is if you're exposed to COVID-19 as a cancer patient.

All patients receiving, or recently completing, cancer treatment are considered to be immunocompromised and at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19.

Those patients actively receiving chemotherapy, or recently completing a course of chemotherapy or radiation, should be particularly careful. Similarly, those who have had a bone marrow transplant should be cautious.

Speak to your oncologist if you're unsure how long past cancer treatment you are considered immunocompromised, as it can vary significantly from patient to patient.

If you're actively receiving cancer treatment, follow these steps to protect yourself from the virus.

You may be considering canceling appointments, waiting to have lab work or even stopping your treatment. The best course of action is to talk to your oncologist. Many UMMS cancer programs offer telemedicine options for your convenience. Contact your doctor by phone or use MyPortfolio to send a secure message.

If you're concerned that coming down with coronavirus could make your cancer move to your lungs or that you're at risk of developing lung cancer, there is no evidence at this time that coronavirus changes the behavior of any cancer.

The concern for cancer patients is that coronavirus complications appear to be more common in cancer patients than the rest of the population. 

COVID-19 Prevention for Cancer Patients

There are many factors cancer patients do have control over during this time. For example, continue with healthy habits such as eating a balanced diet and getting exercise to help boost your immune system. And definitely wear a mask when you go out in public. If appropriate, continue working but remotely.

Remember that even though cancer patients especially must practice social distancing, you are not alone. UMMS is here to help keep cancer patients safe while they receive the care they need.


Updated May 24, 2023