This set of frequently asked questions has been developed specifically for people with cancer. Please note, information is rapidly changing and we will endeavour to update this page as updates are received. Last updated: 25/3/20

To access our Public Statement issued on 16th March, please click here.

Following the prime minister's announcement on 23rd March to stay at home (other than for food, health reasons or essential work), please find Government guidance on staying at home if you think you have coronavirus (self-isolating), how everyone can help stop coronavirus (social distancing) and how to protect extremely vulnerable (shielding).

We are reassured that the NHS will continue to provide cancer treatments as normal and, if it becomes necessary, prioritise some patients for hospital treatment. Cancer treatment plans would only be changed if there is no alternative.

We understand that the NHS has conducted extensive work on supply chains to ensure a secure supply of necessary drugs and other requirements such as the radionuclides used in some imaging tests.

Some people with cancer are more at risk of becoming seriously ill if they contract the COVID-19 infection (commonly known as the Coronavirus), including:

  • People having chemotherapy, or who have received chemotherapy in the last 3 months
  • People having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
  • People having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors
  • People having intensive (radical) radiotherapy for lung cancer
  • People who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
  • People with some types of blood cancer which damage the immune system, even if they have not needed treatment (for example, chronic leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma).

Your clinician may advise people in these groups to minimise their risk of exposure to COVID-19 infection by avoiding crowded environments, limiting social interaction and maintaining careful hand hygiene.

Cancer treatment providers may also seek to minimise the time people in these groups spend in hospital departments, for example by enabling them to consult their hospital teams by telephone, and having blood tests done at GP surgeries or at home where this is possible.

For more information about COVID-19 and how to reduce the risk of infection people should consult the NHS website. You can also call our free Support & Information Line on 0800 111 4855 or email us.

Q&A

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