Statement from The American Society of Breast Surgeons:
How Breast Cancer Patients Should Proceed During the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic
Breast cancer patients are considered among the groups at high risk of contracting the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This is because both cancer and its treatment may weaken the immune system and make patients more vulnerable to infections including COVID-19. As a result of this development, breast surgeons at The American Society of Breast Surgeons would like to take this opportunity to provide some time-sensitive guidance on how breast cancer patients should proceed during the current COVID-19 outbreak.
Breast surgeons and other providers are facing increasingly difficult decisions about how to conserve critical resources needed for patients with COVID-19, while protecting patients and staff from unnecessary exposure and transmission of the virus within the hospital environment. There may be regional variability in the severity of the Coronavirus’ impact on your local health care providers and patients. These constraints may impact the standard courses of treatment for many breast cancer patients.
Talk to your breast surgeon. Your breast surgeon will be able to talk through your individual case and help you determine the best way to approach your breast cancer care during the pandemic.
Your breast surgeon also may have multiple options for communicating with you. Time-sensitive cases may be seen in the clinic; however, telemedicine is also increasingly being used for routine follow up, survivorship, and well visits. Telemedicine is the distribution of health-related services and information via electronic information and telecommunications technologies (i.e., telephone, video chat, etc.). Check with your breast surgeon about the availability of telemedicine options, and ask if this is appropriate for the stage of your care.
We hope that you stay safe as we all address this outbreak. For additional guidance on what you and your family should do at home to stay safe, learn more about COVID-19, and to get the latest updates on the outbreak itself, we recommend you visit the CDC’s coronavirus website.
Image credit: Hegg Health Center