Lung cancer ranks first in cancer-related deaths around the world. As a result, lung cancer treatment is of great importance during the Covid-19 pandemic. The balance between the risk of delay in cancer diagnosis and treatment and the risk of Covid-19 is the most important issue for patients.
The risk of exposure to the virus during the coronavirus epidemic is significantly higher than the general population, as patients diagnosed with cancer have to go to the hospital repeatedly for treatment, as well as the weakening of their immune systems due to the disease and the treatments (surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy).
However, the Covid-19 outbreak should not prevent the continuation of the treatment of patients who are receiving cancer treatment and who need to start new treatment. Ignoring your complaints or interrupting the ongoing treatment with the aim of shielding from Covid-19 will make the disease progress and difficult to cure or control. Unfortunately, our observations are that cancer diagnoses are detected later during the pandemic period.
Lung cancer, like many other cancers, can be cured when detected at an early stage or has a longer chance of survival with treatment.
Radiotherapy, one of the treatment methods of lung cancer, requires going to the center where radiotherapy is applied 4 days a week for an average of 4-6 weeks. During this process, as much as possible, it is recommended not to use public transport while coming to the hospital, to keep your distance if necessary, and to wear a double mask and visor.
Since there may be an increase in the risk of infection due to a decrease in blood levels, especially during radiotherapy combined with chemotherapy, it is preferred not to leave the house unless it is necessary and to contact as few people as possible.
On the other hand, measures are taken to reduce the risk of virus exposure in radiotherapy units. The powerful ventilation system that exists in the treatment rooms due to radiation makes a great contribution to the room’s virus purification. In addition, patient-specific or standard apparatus used during radiotherapy are cleaned with disinfectant products after each use. The distances in the waiting areas are arranged as required and appointments are planned accordingly to prevent backlogs or overlaps.
Radiation oncologists prefer to use treatment schemes that will minimize the patients’ arrival to treatment centers during this period as much as possible.
With all these precautions, it is aimed to continue the ongoing treatments more safely, with the fear of being exposed to the virus, and to prevent delays in applying to diagnosis and treatment centers by ignoring the complaints of the patients.
As a result, lung cancer and all cancers in general are at least as serious as Covid-19 infection and are a group of diseases in which delay can have irreversible consequences. Treatment should not be delayed and patients should act in accordance with their doctors’ advice.