COVID-19 and its severity to cancer patients
−Oncologist advises how this can be avoided
DPI, Guyana, Friday, May 1, 2020
Persons living with cancer are more vulnerable to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) because of their already weakened immune systems.
This was highlighted by Oncology Specialist at the Georgetown Public Hospital Dr. Latoya Gooding during the Public Health Ministry’s update to the nation today.
Dr. Latoya Gooding explained that cancer weakens the immune system by attacking the white blood cells which are the body’s first line of defence against harmful organisms such as bacteria, fungus and viruses.
“The side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy can also weaken the immune system because while it is killing the cancerous cells it also affects some of your red and white blood cells,” she added.
The oncologist noted that Cancer is the third most common cause of death in Guyana, Cervical and Breast Cancer in women, Prostate Cancer in men.
Cervical cancer affects women between the ages of 30-45 years while breast cancer significantly affects women above age 65 years with the peak at 75 years. prostate cancer is detected in men aged 50 years and older.
Those who are aware of their cancerous conditions are urged to maintain the strict recommendations made by their doctors.
During this period with the presence of COVID-19 in Guyana, Dr. Gooding advised that these persons must adhere to the precautions against COVID-19 to reduce their chances of complicating their condition especially sanitising their hands and physical distancing.
In addition to exercise and eating a balanced diet, “stay at home and come out only when it is absolutely necessary. If you have to come out, ensure that you wear a face mask and also avoid congregating… Use your vitamins and all other medication provided by your health care worker. This is not a time for entertaining, so do not invite persons over to your home,” she advised.