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SPONSORED: Cancer patients at higher risk for Coronavirus

The Florida Health Department has released the latest coronavirus COVID-19 numbers for Tuesday...
The Florida Health Department has released the latest coronavirus COVID-19 numbers for Tuesday evening. (MGN)(WJHG)
Published: Apr. 8, 2020 at 7:46 AM CDT
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The Coronavirus is front and center for almost everyone these days. It is especially stressful for those already battling cancer.

"On a regular day, I think a good oncologist is a very good psychologist and a very good counselor," says Dr. Bilal Naqvi, an oncologist at Marshfield Clinic Health System.

Cancer teams are now pulling even more weight to keep their patients healthy.

"A cancer center is a crazy place on a normal day," says Dr. Naqvi. "It's a place where people come in with a high level of anxiety because of the diagnosis they're dealing with, and on top of that you add the scare of Covid-19.

Dr. Naqvi is working to be proactive with his patients, keeping them out of the hospital if at all possible.

"We're looking at our schedules. People who are on a regular three-monthly, six-monthly followup being in remission, we've been pushing their visits out a few months so they don't have to come in," says Dr. Naqvi. "We are looking into telehealth options, we are calling patients to cut down on their visits, but obviously because of the nature of the disease, patients need to keep on getting life-saving chemotherapy treatments."

Those life-saving treatments actually make the danger of the Coronavirus even more real.

"By definition cancer patients are immuno-compromised. On top of that almost all chemotherapies make that immuno-compromised state worse," says Dr. Naqvi. "All of those people are at a higher risk of getting the more severe form of Covid-19."

As for what Dr. Naqvi is telling his patients, it's the same guidelines we are all urged to follow.

"Stay at home as much as possible. Do not go to crowded places for sure. Try not to even venture out at all. Just go for a walk in the backyard or to a park but stay away from people. Wash your hands as much as possible," says Dr. Naqvi.

"What scares us the most is patients not taking it seriously. On the other hand, you don't need to panic," says Dr. Naqvi. "If you follow these guidelines, you can stay safe, but you have to take it very seriously."