ECPC (European Cancer Patient Coalition) è la colazione di pazienti contro il cancro; risiede a Bruxelles e ha un fitto rapporto istituzionale con il Parlamento Europeo per i diritti dei pazienti oncologici, per la promozione della prevenzione primaria e secondaria, per la innovazione e la ricerca farmacologica in campo oncologico.
E' per noi un onore come IncontraDonna essere parte di ECPC dal febbraio 2020. Flaminia Fegarotti e Adriana Bonifacino sono il riferimento in ECPC per la nostra onlus.
Very few countries and health systems took the news from China seriously in January, and when the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, the need for information about how to deal with this new situation concerned all, and was strongly felt by cancer patients and survivors alike.
In the meantime, national health authorities in EU member states and national medical oncology societies have published guidance for their citizens, which cancer patients and survivors should follow, together with the instructions of their doctor. Leading scientific medical societies, the American Society of Oncology (ASCO), the European Association of Medical Oncology (ESMO), the European CanCer Organisation (ECCO) and other have by now issued also relevant information, FAQs, and advice. ECPC presents below short update from the above trustworthy sources.
The causes of COVID-19–related deaths are not clearly defined in the international reports available so far, but data from Italy, where +20% of all COVID-19 mortality was among cancer patients, amplify the importance of the #StayHome request of national health authorities. This confirms the WHO indication that older people are more vulnerable, particularly when they have underlying health conditions such as chronic lung disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and active cancer.
Co-infections of the upper airways may increase the risk of an adverse outcome in patients with viral infections; especially, co-infections caused by bacteria and fungi have a significant impact on the outcome of the primary viral infection. Chronic inflammatory and obstructive pulmonary disease can increase the risk of major respiratory complications.
Patients are advised to discuss their individual risk profiles, due to the primary hemato-oncological disease and the above-mentioned factors and comorbidities, with their treating oncologist. Cancer patients should follow the instructions of WHO and of their national health authorities. They should consult their physician regarding continuation of their treatment, diagnostic tests, and most importantly if they develop any symptoms.
Some scientific national medical oncology societies have already issued instructions to patients e.g. which cancer patients should continue treatment or which cancer patient categories are included in national “vulnerable population groups”, therefore in case of doubt, it is always better to check with your national health authorities.
All measures to prevent the risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 disease outbreak, as published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and WHO, as well as any other measures published by national health and disease control authorities, also apply to cancer patients.
Again, if you have any not usual symptoms, you are recommended to contact your oncologist before changing or stopping your treatment.
Let’s recognise and accept that this can be a stressful time, but that the strict measures taken aim at keeping us safe. This is the time to prove our social responsibility: taking care of ourselves and practising social distancing and staying home, keeps us and those around us safe. Remember to check-in on loved ones, gather information from trusted sources (such as the WHO and your national health authorities’ website), maintain a healthy lifestyle and enjoy pastimes that help you relax.
For more information:
WHO – World Health Organization:
ECCO – European Cancer Organization:
ESMO – European Society of Medical Oncology:
JAMA Network: Case-Fatality Rate and Characteristics of Patients Dying in Relation to COVID-19 in Italy https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2763667
‘Risk of COVID-19 for Patients with Cancer’
ECDC – European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control: Considerations relating to social distancing measures in response to COVID-19 – second update
IncontraDonna onlus. Occupiamoci di seno. La donna PARTE INTEGRANTE di un percorso di salute.