Human nature never reveals itself more generous and empathetic than in times of crisis. During the current pandemic, we have witnessed genuine acts of goodness. We have seen communities joining their efforts to protect their most vulnerable citizens and we have learned that many privileged members of society made lavish donations to support hospitals in their fight against the novel coronavirus.
This period proves to be even more challenging for cancer patients, as they are not only more vulnerable to catching the virus but they also face some tough, paradoxical decisions in terms of what is better for their health. Some of them, especially those who are in more advanced stages, chemotherapy, or other forms of treatment for which they need to go to a health facility is vital but considering the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, hospitals and clinics could become the most dangerous place for a cancer patient. If for some, postponing treatment might be an option, for others it most certainly is not, and it’s for them that we need to keep fighting to lower the curve and do all we can to protect them.
Cancer Patients Are Extremely Vulnerable for The Infection With The Novel Coronavirus
By now, the fact that there are some extremely vulnerable groups who run a high risk of developing severe complications to COVID-19 is a well-known fact. Among them, there are cancer patients whose immune system has been severely weakened by treatments such as chemotherapy. Those who suffer from lung cancer, esophageal, or any other type of cancer that affects the respiratory system are even more vulnerable, as their respiratory capacity is already impaled. For them, this period proves to be extremely difficult as they need to be even more careful than before and protect themselves.
It’s also important to mention the fact that the majority of cancers do not have any flagrant symptoms in the early stages, so oftentimes, patients can attribute any minor symptoms like coughing to common diseases or just aging. Discovering the disease in its early stages can significantly increase life expectancy, and for this, it’s important to understand what are some of the risk factors and pay attention to your health in case you have been subjected to any of them. For example, one of the major risk factors that lead to lung cancer is occupational asbestos exposure, for people who have worked in various industrial settings up until the 80s or veterans serving in the Navy. This is because of the fact that asbestos was widely used in numerous products, especially for insulation. When inhaled, these fibers get trapped inside the lung tissue and can, over time, lead to inflammation and serious lung diseases.
People who have had the following occupations, should check up on their health regularly and take extra precautions during this period:
- Construction workers
- Chemical plant workers
- Textile mill workers
- Asbestos manufacturers
- Auto mechanics
- Shipyard workers and veterans serving in the Navy
Facial Masks and Other Precautions that Cancer Patients Need to Take
People suffering from any type of cancer but especially those connected to the lungs and respiratory system need to take extra precautions during this period, starting with practicing social distancing or self-isolation as much as possible. Aside from this, all other hygiene measures such as regularly disinfecting their hands and not touching their face are also extremely important to follow, as scientists have proven that the virus becomes inactive through hand washing.
When going out, one of the most important things to do during this period is wearing a face mask of any kind. Although it has been long debated, tests have proven that there is a much smaller probability of the novel coronavirus spreading if everyone is wearing a mask, especially those who are at high risk.
As there is still a shortage of face masks, it might be difficult for those most in need to obtain them. For this purpose, Environmental Litigation Group P.C has started a campaign dedicated to providing cancer patients with free face masks. Once the masks are collected, they are distributed to cancer patients, their families, or caregivers who request them.
Those who need face masks can fill out this form and the items will be delivered to their home. Cancer patients and their families are the first who qualify for these donations. Deliveries are made based on how many available masks there are.
Hopefully, with the help of those who are committed to helping others, this initiative will provide support for numerous cancer patients and their families. Those who want to contribute or who need a mask are encouraged to join the program.
About the Author
Gregory A. Cade is the main attorney at Environmental Litigation Group P.C, a law firm dedicated to helping victims of occupational toxic exposure. Because of the work they do with cancer patients on a regular basis, they decided to implement the Mask Matching Program to help out cancer patients and families as well as local medical facilities.