Coronavirus Update

The current situation with regards the coronavirus is something that we are closely monitoring.

We are in constant contact with medical professionals who are dealing with the treatment and support of those with throat cancers, to bring you the latest updates to help you manage and deal with any questions you may have.

If you have a throat cancer or are supporting a loved one, it is important that you take protective measures to minimise the risk of contracting the virus.  The most important step firstly is to follow advice from your own healthcare management team.

Those with a throat cancer are classified as being at a higher risk, due to their compromised immune system, mostly as a result of their cancer treatment.

Guidelines for people with throat cancer

The NHS is very well prepared for outbreaks like the coronavirus and has issued the following guidelines.

If you have a compromised immune system (such as those who have a throat cancer) you are being urged if possible, to stay at home and avoid any large gatherings.

If you have any relatives that are coughing for long periods and are showing flu like symptoms, then you should avoid visits to vulnerable groups, and people including those who have a throat cancer or who are currently going through their treatment processes.

General advice being issued to throat cancer patients and their carers or loved ones, includes:

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth or any feeding pegs as much as possible. It may take practice as touching the face is often done inadvertently.

Wash your hands regularly through the day with soap and water for around 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand gel.  Ordinary soap and water are just as effective.

Stop shaking hands or kissing as a greeting. It is also thought keeping a distance of around 2 metres from others reduces the chance of infection.

Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow.   They dispose of the tissue in your bin and wash your hands.

If you are currently having treatment for throat cancer

Keep in constant contact with your medical healthcare team, who will advise you of any changes you may have to take to your treatment process.

Keep taking your prescribed medication unless advised otherwise.

If you show no signs of the coronavirus, you should attend all your normal appointments, unless advised otherwise (check with your healthcare team).   Take normal precautions when attending your appointments, such as washing your hands with a sanitiser, avoiding shaking hands and keeping a safe distance of 1-2 meters from other people.

If you have been through throat cancer treatment, but start to feel unwell

Stay at home. Do not visit your GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. CALL 111 for advice instead.
If you develop a fever, self-isolate and CALL 111.

If you take regular prescription medication, ensure you have a good supply.

It has been recommended that some people isolate themselves, for example if they have been in contact with someone diagnosed with coronavirus. To do this a two-week supply of food would be needed, but no more than this.

If you have any equipment that you need to support you, such as feeding tubes/pegs, please ensure you have enough supplies and that they are regularly cleaned when required.

How long should you self isolate for?

If you show symptoms that appear to be mild, you should self isolate for 2 weeks.

Keep in contact with your medical healthcare team, who will monitor your situation.

Once your period of self-isolation is over it is possible (and important) to go back outside, but taking all necessary precautions to immunise direct contact with other people.

Other factors to consider

As a throat cancer patient, you are advised to take precautions in managing your health.   There are other factors that you may have to consider on top of your condition that could be contributing to putting you in a high risk sector for the coronavirus.

If you are over 70 years of age.

Have you had the annual flu jab offered by your GP

Do you have high blood pressure?

Is your immune system compromised by any drug therapy you are taking or any illness?

Do you suffer from COPD?

Do you have any form of Cardiovascular disease?

Are you clinically obese?

If you have any further question of are in need of support, our team can be contacted on 020 3475 4065 or email us at hello@throatcancerfoundation.org

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