About Your Care During COVID at the Cancer Institute

What is the Cancer Institute doing to help protect me from exposure to COVID-19?

To ensure your continuing health and safety at this time, the Cancer Institute has put a number of enhanced safety precautions in place. These include health screening stations at every entrance, to assess patients and visitors for COVID-19 symptoms; a strict visitor policy that limits access to the building and decreases the risk of additional coronavirus exposure; and masks for all patients, as well as additional personal protective equipment (or PPE) for our caregivers, to offer added protection against COVID-19 transmission.

In addition, we are also taking temperatures of all patients and visitors at our entrances. As an added precaution, we have also cancelled all elective surgeries. Some routine doctor visits are being scheduled using telehealth so that you can maintain communication with your health care team.

Should I still be receiving active treatment at this time?

Our cancer care physicians are reviewing each patient’s treatment plan to determine the best and safest course of action. Your doctor will talk with you to discuss your options based on your diagnosis, your overall health, your prognosis and other individual risk factors. If you are in active treatment, you can trust that our physicians—your partners in care—believe that this is the best option for you.

As always, if you have any concerns or questions regarding your care, including surgery, infusion or radiation treatment, please speak to your doctor.

My treatment has been suspended due to COVID-19. What if I have a health emergency? Am I able to make an appointment if I feed I need to see a provider?

A: Call 911 immediately if you have a life-threatening emergency, such as:

  • A fever greater than 100.4°
  • Uncontrolled nausea or vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

If you have health issues or concerning symptoms, we are, as always, available by phone 24/7.

  • If you are currently receiving infusion therapy, call 410-427-5585.
  • If you are currently receiving radiation therapy, call 410-427-2525.
  • If you have recently had or are scheduled for an upcoming breast cancer surgery, call 410-427-5510.

At this time, our providers are, with thoughtful consideration, limiting in-person appointments to select patients, to lower the risk of possible COVID exposure for all of our patients. To ensure continuing care for those who need it, doctors in our Cancer Institute, including our breast, palliative care, medical oncology and radiation/oncology specialists, are conducting telemedicine patient visits.

These providers are available via phone or computer for evaluations, discussions and support, as needed. These virtual health visits are available with our social worker, dietician, psychologist and nurse practitioners, too.

Call your provider with any questions or to learn more.

When will I know it’s safe to return to care? Will my physician’s office contact me to reschedule my treatment and doctor visits?

You can trust that we will recommend your return to care as soon as it is judged to be safe for you. Until that time, we are following our state’s ongoing recommendations regarding health care and social distancing. When restrictions on care are lifted, we will contact patients individually to let them know that we can resume their cancer treatment. Your doctor will advise you as to the best next steps in your plan of treatment based on your overall health. He or she may recommend continuing telemedicine visits for a time, to limit your risk for getting COVID-19, but this is something you and your doctor can talk about together.

Of course, if you have questions or concerns, you should call your doctor as you normally would.

Besides wearing a mask, practicing good hand hygiene and social distancing, what can I do to support my overall health and recovery at this time?

Patients being treated for cancer are at higher risk for getting COVID-19 and many other illnesses because cancer-fighting medications and treatments tend to weaken the immune system (or the body’s ability to fend off infection). Taking good care of yourself is the best way to give your immune system its best shot for resisting the coronavirus. Eating right, staying hydrated, getting plenty of rest and keeping active are things you can do to keep yourself strong. In addition, it’s good to find ways to Stay Well While Staying In during this time of enforced social distancing.

In these anxious times, it’s also helpful to practice mindful techniques that encourage relaxation and a sense of well-being and promote health, healing and recovery.

Making sure your home is clean and disinfected properly is also a great defense against many types of illnesses, including COVID-19.

More Tips for Staying Healthy

The experts at UM St. Joseph and University of Maryland Medical System offer the following information to help you understand What You Need to Know About Coronavirus, including symptoms and prevention, lifestyle tips and coping strategies.

Helpful Links: Other Trusted Resources for Current COVID Information

Find timely, accurate and helpful COVID-related health information online: