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Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Prostate Cancer

The news about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) around the world is cause for concern and you may be wondering what special precautions you should take, especially if you have prostate cancer.

First, the most important thing to remember, whether or not you have prostate cancer, is that if you have symptoms, such as fever (37.5°C or higher), persistent cough or difficulty breathing, you should stay home and call toll free 418-644-4545 in the Quebec City region, 514-644-4545 in the Montreal area and 1-877-644-4545 elsewhere in Quebec.

Second, if you do not have symptoms, it is important to follow the directives issued by the Government of Quebec – click here – to protect your health and safety, as well as that of your loved ones, and to avoid the spread of the virus.

Third, given the potentially heavy demand for doctors and nurses, please note that there may be:

  • Cancellation on-site of your appointment or postponement of your medical follow-ups
  • Postponement of your medical consultations or the start of your treatment(s)
  • Postponement of your current treatment(s) if you have symptoms

Your medical team will stay in touch with you. Be forgiving in these difficult times. The seriousness of your case, according to your medical file and your specialist, will be treated appropriately.

Please find below additional information for anyone with prostate cancer. Our specialized nurses are also available 7/7 to answer your questions and provide support at 1 855 899-2873. Feel free to contact them!

As always, it is important to follow the advice of your doctor, nurse or anyone else on your medical team.

I am having treatment for prostate cancer. Am I at increased risk if I get COVID-19?

The effects of coronavirus could be more serious if you have prostate cancer and your immune system is compromised or weakened by treatment. These include:

  • If you are receiving or have received chemotherapy in the past three months
  • If you are participating in a clinical trial and receiving immunotherapy treatment
  • If you are receiving Radium-223

If you are undergoing or have recently undergone any of these treatments, it is very important to follow the containment procedures in order to reduce any risk of contamination. Furthermore, certain treatments such as recent surgery, radiation therapy or new generation hormone therapy (those taken by mouth) could weaken your immune system, making you more at risk.

In addition to following government guidelines to reduce the risk of infection, we invite you to:

  • Stay at home
  • Limit contact with other people
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly with soap and water

If you are currently receiving or have already received cancer treatment, and are concerned about your risk of infection, talk to your doctor or members of your healthcare team. They will also keep you informed of any possible change regarding your medical appointments and/or your treatments during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

I’m worried that I may have coronavirus. What should I do?

If you have been in contact with someone infected with this virus, or if you have a new cough, fever or difficulty breathing, stay at home and call immediately toll free 418-644-4545 in the Quebec City region, 514-644-4545 in the Montreal area and 1-877-644-4545 elsewhere in Quebec. Be sure to discuss your diagnosis of prostate cancer and treatments received.

If you are being treated for cancer and you develop a fever, a cough or breathing problems, call your healthcare team. Follow their advice on when you should come into the office or hospital and when it’s safer to stay home.

Will I receive my prostate cancer treatment as planned?

Unless the hospital tells you otherwise, you should continue to attend all of your follow-up appointments or treatment sessions as scheduled. Contact your doctor or nurse if you have any concerns or doubts.

Are the symptoms of COVID-19 likely to be different if I have prostate cancer? What should I watch out for?

Some treatments, especially chemotherapy, can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of infection with COVID-19. The main symptoms of COVID-19, even if you have cancer, are generally the same as those in the general population, such as fever or fever-like sensations, abnormal fatigue, difficulty breathing (shortness of breath) or coughing.
Pay close attention to these symptoms, even if they are minimal. Also watch out for any unusual symptoms of any kind (e.g. confusion, drowsiness, trembling, pain) and always seek medical advice.

Do I need to take any special measures in case of prostate cancer?

Yes, you need to take extra precautionary measures.
Some treatments may lower your immune system and therefore make you more vulnerable. Of course, it is not recommended that you stop your treatments without prior consultation. If you have any concerns or questions, talk to your doctor. Be particularly attentive to the instructions of the government and health authorities. Also make your family and friends aware of the situation.

I am currently receiving radiotherapy. Am I at risk?

Radiotherapy outside the prostate should not affect your immune system. So, if you have had or are currently undergoing radiation therapy to treat prostate cancer, it will not affect your risk. Nor will it increase your risk of serious symptoms if you get the coronavirus.

Some men with advanced prostate cancer use radiation therapy to relieve bone pain in parts of the body where the cancer has spread. Depending on the bone being treated and the dose of radiation therapy, this can affect the bone marrow, which may cause a temporary decrease in the number of blood cells that help fight infection. This could mean you are at higher risk. Talk to your doctor, radiologist or nurse if you are undergoing radiation therapy to treat the symptoms of advanced prostate cancer and you are concerned that you may be at increased risk.

Take the time to visit each of our pages on this website, as well as our YouTube channel, in order to get familiar with the disease with our expert lectures, our section on available resources, the support that is offered to you.

Do you have any questions or concerns? Above all, do not hesitate. Contact us at 1 855 899-2873 to discuss with a nurse specializing in uro-oncology. It’s simple and free, like all our services.

Also from PROCURE
The Fight Goes On 

Sources and references
Government of Quebec
Canadian Cancer Society

Written by PROCURE. © All rights reserved – 2020


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