Statement from oncologists and haematologists in Northern Ireland (October 26th 2020)
Statement from NICaN SACT Clinical Reference Group (CRG) 26th October 2020.
Delivery of Systemic Anti-Cancer Treatment.
As a community of caregivers for oncology and haematology patients in Northern Ireland we are well aware of the increased anxiety generated by the Covid 19 pandemic during what is already a very difficult time for you.
Disruption to our service is inevitable; we wish to assure you that we are working very hard to maintain services as far as possible. Our first priority is your safety. We know that Covid 19 is likely to be more severe in some people with a cancer diagnosis. This is particularly so in older patients and those with additional medical conditions. As a result, some of our anti-cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, which suppress the immune system and affect your general health, may have significantly greater risk at this time.
At your next consultation, your doctor or nurse will discuss the benefits and risks of proceeding with treatment. They may suggest stopping treatment or making significant alterations to reduce the risk. Any decision about your treatment will be based on your individual circumstances and our ability to provide safe care in the weeks and months ahead. No decision about your treatment will be made without involving you in this.
It takes a team of many different health professionals to deliver cancer treatments. Like other members of the public, staff may be exposed to the virus and, as the prevalence of the virus in the community increases again, we anticipate that additional pressure on the service will come from staff shortages. There will inevitably be some disruption to our service over the next few weeks and months, however please be assured we are working hard to reduce the impact of this on cancer treatment.