"Cancer patients are more at risk of getting an infection because they have a weak immune system. So if they get the SARS-CoV-2 virus they can have trouble fighting it."
The words with which Dr. Patrizia Porcu, oncologist at the Mediclinic City Hospital in Dubai kicks off the interview on the risks of cancer patients in this period of health emergency from Covid-19.
The doctor also talks about how her work and the organization of the cancer center where she carries out her profession have changed.
Can cancer therapies be discontinued during this period?
Finding a guideline on the best approach is the big topic of all cancer centers around the world. However, the decision taken at the international level is to postpone treatment wherever possible.
On the other hand, what is foreseen for patients who have finished active treatment and have to go to the hospital for follow-up?
Telemedicine as a new counseling method is also a valid tool for follow-up visits for cancer patients.
How to reduce the risks of contagion?
In the Dubai facility where I work, we have organized an excellent control method. The oncology area is isolated from the rest of the hospital, a complete screening has been provided upon arrival at the hospital, including a tampon and we provide all personal protective equipment.
What are the recommendations?
The guidelines we provide to all patients who need to undergo urgent treatment are: get out of the house as little as possible, avoid contact with other people, wash clothes once they return from the hospital. Basically, living in a closed and protected environment.
How has your work changed?
It is a completely different management of the patient and a very high level of stress.
What are your tips?
In general, follow the recommendations of government agencies and try to avoid crowded places. For cancer patients, the main advice is not to underestimate the danger and avoid unnecessary exposure, but without stress. They need to rest assured because we provide an efficient level of care even in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic