FAQ

Questions to ask your doctor

Would this procedure or treatment put me at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19?
Is it necessary to have the procedure now or is it safe to wait?
Do you think we should delay this procedure? If so, for how long?
What precautions should I take when I come for treatment?
If I am immunosuppressed, do I need to wear a mask or gloves at home when I am with my family and others?
If I have questions about my treatment or side effects, who do I call?

 

 

Foire aux questions

Symptoms of COVID and Prostate Cancer (+)

I’m afraid I have a coronavirus – what should I do?

If you are currently receiving treatment for your prostate cancer, other than standard hormone therapy, and a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing appear, call your healthcare team. You will be told when you should go to the clinic or hospital, and when it is safer to stay at home. Follow the advice given to you. Government and distancing measures are even more important in your case to reduce the risk of infection.

Someone I live with has symptoms – what should we do?

If you are currently receiving treatment for your prostate cancer, other than standard hormone therapy, and someone with whom you live has a cough, fever, or difficulty breathing, try to keep as far away as possible and inform your medical team of the situation. Follow the advice given to you. Government and distancing measures are even more important in your case to reduce the risk of infection.

Are COVID-19 symptoms likely to be different if I have prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer does not increase your risk of getting coronavirus, or the risk of developing more severe symptoms. It remains relatively the same as for the rest of the population. Those at risk mainly concern the elderly – 70 years and over, and those who suffer from serious chronic health problems such as lung, heart or kidney disease, diabetes and various types of aggressive cancer.

The effects of the coronavirus may 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 treatment

If you are undergoing or have recently had any of these treatments, it is very important to follow the containment procedures to reduce any risk of contamination. In addition, certain treatments, such as recent surgery or new generation hormone therapy (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 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 changes to your medical appointments and / or treatments during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Am I at increased risk for coronavirus? (+)

I had treatment for prostate cancer. Am I more at risk?

No. Prostate cancer does not increase your risk of getting coronavirus, or the risk of developing more severe symptoms. It remains relatively the same as for the rest of the population. Those at risk mainly concern the elderly – 70 years and over, and those who suffer from serious chronic health problems such as lung, heart or kidney disease, diabetes and various types of aggressive cancer.

I recently had prostate surgery

Normally you are no more at risk than the normal population. However, if you are recovering from recent surgery, your immune system may be weakened, making you more at risk. Follow government guidelines to reduce your risk of infection.

If you have had surgery to treat prostate cancer in the past and have recovered from the operation, this will not increase your risk of getting coronavirus. It also won’t increase the risk of more serious symptoms if you get a coronavirus.

I have had – or am receiving – radiotherapy

You are no more at risk than the normal population if you have completed your radiotherapy treatment.

If you are in the middle of radiation therapy, you may not be able to postpone. Your healthcare team will do their best to continue your cancer treatment while protecting you from infection, so don’t hesitate to ask questions. Follow government guidelines to reduce your risk of infection.

Treatment of metastases

Some men with advanced prostate cancer use radiation to relieve bone pain in certain areas 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 can cause a temporary drop in the number of blood cells that help fight the infection. If this happens, it could mean that you are more likely to get infections.

Talk to your doctor, radiation oncologist or nurse if you are undergoing radiation therapy to treat symptoms of advanced prostate cancer and are concerned that you are at increased risk. They will also keep you informed of any possible changes to your medical appointments and / or treatments during the COVID-19 outbreak. In all cases, contact your medical team if you have signs of infection.

I am on standard hormone therapy (Éligard, Lupron, etc.)

Standard hormone therapy treatments do not increase your risk of getting coronavirus, or having more severe symptoms if you get coronavirus. This means that it is safe to continue receiving hormone therapy.

I am being treated with new generation hormone therapy (Xtandy, Zytiga, Erleada, Nubeqa)

Some new generation hormone therapy treatments can lower your immune system and therefore weaken you. It is of course not recommended to interrupt your treatments without prior consultation. If you have any concerns or questions, speak to your doctor. Follow the advice given to you. Also educate those around you. Government and distancing measures are even more important in your case to reduce the risk of infection.

I recently had – or I am receiving Radium-223

If you are receiving Radium-223 (Xofigo®) to treat bone pain caused by advanced prostate cancer, it can occasionally affect the bone marrow and increase the risk of getting infections. Talk to your doctor or nurse if you are worried. Follow the advice given to you. Also educate those around you. Government and distancing measures are even more important in your case to reduce the risk of infection.

I just finished a cycle of chemotherapy

The effects of coronavirus may be more severe if you have prostate cancer and your immune system is compromised or weakened by chemotherapy treatment. If you are receiving chemotherapy and have received this treatment in the past 3 months, it is very important to follow the containment procedures to reduce any risk of contamination.

I have metastases and undergoing chemotherapy or receiving Xgeva (or Zometa)

Doctors are well aware of the risks linked to treatment, the COVID-19 infection risk, but also the risks associated with stopping your treatment, especially on the progression of your cancer. If your doctor has not asked you to stop your treatment, it is because he considers the risk related to the interruption of your treatment greater than the risk of pursuing it.

If your doctor decides to postpone your treatment, it is because he considers the risk of stopping treatment much less important than the risk of developing a serious COVID 19 infection, which could be life threatening.

In all cases, active treatment for metastatic cancer is a risk factor for developing a more serious form of COVID 19 disease. Consequently, you are encouraged to be extra vigilant; it is important to respect confinement at home, to limit contact with loved ones and to respect hygienic instructions, in particular hand washing.

Talk to your doctor or nurse if you are concerned and contact your medical team if you have signs of infection.

I have advanced prostate cancer and I’m participating in a clinical trial

The clinical trial is expected to continue. Recruitment to a clinical trial is postponed. If you participate in a clinical trial, you are encouraged to be extra vigilant; it is important to respect confinement at home, to limit contact with loved ones and to respect hygienic instructions, in particular hand washing.

Talk to your doctor or research nurse if you are concerned and contact your medical team if you have signs of infection.

Precautions and guidelines (+)

What guidelines have been developed by cancer centers for the care of patients with prostate cancer?

The general guidelines for cancer centers are to sort out what type of treatments, surgeries, exams, medical follow-ups that may or may not be postponed to a later date, always taking into consideration the impact on your prognosis, your type of prostate cancer and the delays involved.

Rest assured, doctors are well aware of the risks linked to treatment, the COVID-19 infection risk, but also the risks associated with stopping your treatment, especially on the progression of your cancer. This is why an Oncology Vigilance Committee is in place and each patient file is combed through to determine whether or not there is an emergency to treat, in order to limit exposure to COVID-19.

What are the precautions / guidelines taken for the protection of patients in hospitals?

If an exam is to take place and an appointment is confirmed, or you need to initiate radiation therapy, don’t be afraid to go. The oncology centers have taken the necessary measures to ensure your safety. You will be informed of these measures and what you need to do before your appointment.

Treatments and medical follow-ups – What will happen and who will inform me? (+)

Will I receive my prostate cancer treatment as planned?

Not necessarily.

Rest assured, doctors are well aware of the risks linked to treatment, the COVID-19 infection risk, but also the risks associated with stopping your treatment, especially on the progression of your cancer. This is why an Oncology Vigilance Committee is in place and each patient file is combed through to determine whether or not there is an emergency to treat, in order to limit exposure to COVID-19.

For example, an aggressive prostate cancer or one at high risk of progression will be treated. However, if it is impossible to have access to surgery within an acceptable timeframe, several options can be considered, such as radiotherapy, or in the interim, hormone therapy to control the progression of the cancer and put it on hold before a surgery.

If your doctor decides to postpone your treatment, it is because he considers the risk of stopping treatment much less important than the risk of developing a serious COVID 19 infection, which could be life threatening. Fortunately, the majority of prostate cancers are diagnosed early, progress more slowly than other cancers, allowing flexibility in terms of treatment times, without harming you.

I was scheduled for surgery. Will it be canceled? Postponed? What will my alternatives be?

Currently, all surgical procedures are postponed in order to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Prostate surgery involves a hospital stay, which could put you at risk for getting infected. As prostate cancer often develops slowly, so for many men, delaying or changing their treatment should not affect the effectiveness of their treatment in the long term.

However, if it is impossible to have access to surgery within an acceptable timeframe, several options can be considered, such as radiotherapy, or in the interim, hormone therapy to control the progression of the cancer and put it on hold before a surgery.

If your doctor has to delay or change your treatment, he will talk to you first and help you understand your options and why this is happening. Don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about your concerns during this conversation.

If my treatment is postponed, can my cancer progress?

Fortunately, the majority of prostate cancers are diagnosed early, progress more slowly than other cancers, allowing flexibility in terms of treatment times, without harming you.

An aggressive prostate cancer or one at high risk of progression will be treated. For example, if tests show that your cancer is more likely to develop quickly or spread, your doctor will arrange to get you the treatment you need without unnecessary delay.

If your doctor decides to postpone your treatment, it is because he considers the risk of stopping treatment much less important than the risk of developing a serious COVID 19 infection, which could be life threatening.

If your doctor has to delay or change your treatment, he will talk to you first and help you understand your options and why this is happening. Don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about your concerns during this conversation.

Could my treatment be stopped if I have symptoms?

If you are undergoing treatment in a hospital center, such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy or if you are participating in a clinical trial, contact your medical team to inform them of your situation and follow the advice they will give you, in addition to following government guidelines.

I am waiting for an appointment to pass a scan, a scintigraphy, an MRI or other tests following my diagnosis. Could these exams be postponed? Who will inform me?

Yes, these tests could be postponed. The decision to maintain, schedule or postpone your additional tests will depend on the results of your biopsy and your state of health.

If an exam is to take place and an appointment is confirmed, or you need to initiate radiation therapy, don’t be afraid to go. The oncology centers have taken the necessary measures to ensure your safety. You will be informed of these measures and what you need to do before your appointment.

I’m waiting for an appointment for a biopsy. Could this exam be postponed? Who will inform me?

Yes, your biopsy could be postponed to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. The decision to maintain it would be based on your PSA and digital rectal exam. If it is to take place and an appointment is confirmed, don’t be afraid to go. The oncology centers have taken the necessary measures to ensure your safety. You will be informed of these measures and what you need to do before your appointment.

I am under active surveillance. Could my follow-up appointments be canceled or postponed?

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure, your follow-up appointments will be postponed, especially if your prostate cancer is stable and not progressing, based on the results of your PSA tests.

I have to have PSA tests every 3 months. Where do I go and how do I proceed?

To reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19, and unless your doctor tells you otherwise, screening or follow-up appointments will be postponed, especially if your prostate cancer is stable and does not change, depending on the results of your PSA tests. Your medical follow-up appointments will be made over the phone, so you don’t have to go to a hospital or clinic. All this for your safety.

Urinary symptoms, risk factors for prostate cancer (+)

I have significant urinary symptoms. I also have a family history of prostate cancer. Where can I consult?

Consult if you have urinary symptoms or any other symptoms. The CLSCs and walk-in clinics are there for you, as are our nurses, specialized in uro-oncology, at 1 855 899-2873.

What should worried patients do? (+)

Who to contact? Where to go? What to do to occupy yourself?

If you stay at home (self-isolation) or move away from others (social distancing), you may feel worried or anxious about being alone for a while. You may also find it difficult or overwhelming to be away from family or friends.

It is a worrying time for everyone. It’s normal to feel anxious, stressed or even sad about what’s going on, especially if you have prostate cancer.

You can still talk to people over the phone or online, including family and friends, health professionals, and our nurses at 1-855-899-2873. There are people who can help you if you have a question or concern. You are not alone.

It may also be helpful to think about things you could do at home to keep you busy while you isolate yourself. You could try to get into a daily routine and keep things as normal as possible. This can help distract you. You may want to try some of the following tips, such as:

  • Trying to wash and get dressed every day, if you can
  • Calling family, friends, or neighbors to ask if they can buy the food and prescription drugs you need – most people who are well will be happy to help if you ask
  • Drinking lots of water and eating a balanced diet
  • Staying active by doing some gentle exercises at home if you can do it safely, such as stretching, yoga, light housework, or indoor gardening
  • Writing a list of things to do in your home, such as tidying up a closet or doing light chores
  • Continuing to do things you enjoy at home, such as reading, cooking or listening to music
  • Remembering to keep an agenda or diary, in order to remember to do activities that you enjoy every day

Taking care of yourself and staying busy is important during this time. Try to keep in touch with friends and family – remember there are always people who can help you, even if you are alone at home.

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