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COVID-19 Resources for Cancer Survivors
UPDATED JULY 17, 2020
NCCS has heard from many survivors who feel uniquely vulnerable due to their history of cancer treatments. And we have heard from people currently in treatment, who are worried about delays in care and navigating a stressed health care system.
We’re partnering and consulting with several cancer organizations and experts to address the questions and concerns survivors have shared. Please bookmark this page, as it will be updated frequently.
Frequently Asked Clinical Questions
NCCS and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) are working together to provide information about how coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) could potentially affect the health and cancer care of people diagnosed with cancer.
Click the link below to find answers to cancer survivors’ frequently asked clinical questions about COVID-19 from ASCO Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President Dr. Richard Schilsky.
Richard Schilsky, MD, FACP, FSCT, FASCO, and NCCS CEO Shelley Fuld Nasso
NCCS - National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship
Common Questions about Coronavirus 2019 and Cancer: Answers for Patients and Survivors »
We will continue sharing survivors’ clinical questions with ASCO, so if you have questions that are NOT answered here, please let us know.
NCCS Podcast Hosts Health Care Experts Who Address Coronavirus’ Impact on Cancer Survivors
Listen to NCCS’ podcast, Cancer Convos, for more insights on COVID-19 and its impact on cancer patients and survivors. Subscribe to Cancer Convos on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast app.
How Survivors Can Cope With the Anxiety of COVID-19
Many survivors are experiencing stress, anxiety, and PTSD from the new expectations and restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. These uncertain times can lead to feelings of helplessness and a lack of control over one’s life. This may trigger thoughts of stressful events of the past with worries about one’s health or that of loved ones.
Although experiencing some levels of anxiety and fear can be expected, we do have some control over our lives, despite the global restrictions from the pandemic.
While learning to live indoors:
Develop a routine or schedule for your time, which includes the time you will wake up, time for movement/exercise, regular check-ins with friends, and regular family activities. Having a schedule can help center your emotions and give you a sense of control over your life.
Take a breath. Deep breathing helps reduce stress in the body, reduces muscle tension, and calms the mind. It also increases the flow of oxygen to the brain, which helps with clarity, memory, and wellbeing. You can use DVDs or apps for exercising, find free breathing or meditation apps (Insight Timer or Calm) for techniques, or walk around your home or yard and climb stairs for movement.
Stay in touch with the people you love with virtual communication and telephone calls. Use your time to start a daily conference or virtual call through a free conference or virtual call company with friends for a book club; Bible Study; prayer; or start a recipe exchange club where members alternate bringing new recipes to the group, cook it at the same time, and share the outcomes.
Start a new hobby or learn a new skill. Embrace your creativity to help with mental acuity, expression, and entertainment. Let your creative self shine with these few suggestions and anything else your thoughts will lead you to do.
Food Pickup and Delivery Program for Cancer Patients
Team Rubicon, in collaboration with Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) and funded by the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation, have partnered to provide emergency food pick-up and delivery assistance to those who have cancer, multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis, and have been affected by COVID-19.
Team Rubicon’s Greyshirts are committed to fulfilling emergency food pick-up and delivery assistance. Due to overwhelming response to the program, response times may be delayed by up to 30 days.
The Cancer Support Community (CSC) Cancer Support Helpline is staffed by counselors and resource specialists who have extensive years of experience helping people affected by cancer. Counselors and resource specialists can be reached by phone at 1-888-793-9355 or live chatfrom Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. ET, and Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET.
Resources About Loss of Health Coverage
This blog on COVID-19 by Karen Pollitz at Kaiser Family Foundation outlines what you can do about losing health coverage during this crisis.
For information about transitioning from job based coverage to other forms of coverage (including Medicaid and COBRA), see these resources:
NCCS is seeking answers from public health experts on the coronavirus and its impact on cancer patients and survivors. Please contact us at www.canceradvocacy.org/contact with any questions or concerns you have and what data would be helpful to you as we gather this information.
NCCS COVID-19 resources are sponsored in part by The Pfizer Foundation.
The Ellen L. Stovall Award for Innovation in Patient-Centered Cancer Care is a unique opportunity for patients and survivors to recognize pioneers who are transforming the cancer care system.
The NCCS Cancer Policy & Advocacy Team (CPAT) is a program for survivors and caregivers to learn about pressing policy issues that affect quality cancer care in order to be engaged as advocates in public policy around the needs of cancer survivors.
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NCCS represents the millions of Americans who share a common experience – the survivorship experience – living with, through and beyond a cancer diagnosis.
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