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Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Covid-19 and Cancer

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Covid-19 and Cancer

Reviewed by Jasper Clinical Board

Last updated 5/24/21


Unfortunately, while cancer patients are not at increased risk of actually acquiring Covid-19, because they have compromised immune systems, they are at greater risk of developing severe complications if they do acquire a COVID-19 infection. This means that your healthcare team have likely begun implementing new safety protocols, and you will also likely have to take some extra precautions yourself in your daily life. Here are some questions to ask your doctor during this time. 
  1. Is it possible for me to attend some of my routine follow up visits by video or telehealth?
  2. How is your clinic set up for cancer patients? How are you limiting my exposure to COVID-19? 
  3. Am I allowed to bring a support person to my visits? If not, may we call or include my primary support person by video call?
  4. Do I need to test for COVID-19 before starting any of my treatments? Does my caregiver also need to be tested in order to accompany me to treatments (if a support person is allowed at the treatment center)?
  5. Am I allowed to bring a support person to the hospital with me? If not, may they be included by phone call or video call when the doctor comes in to provide updates? 
  6. If I am allowed a support person while I am hospitalized, are they allowed to be with me 24/7 or are there limited visiting hours? 
  7. If I am hospitalized, will I be able to walk the hallways of the hospital? Will I be allowed to take walks outside if I choose? 
  8. Am I currently considered immunocompromised? If so, what does this mean for me in light of the COVID-19 pandemic? 
  9. How do I get my port or catheter flushed safely at this time?  On what schedule should I be getting it flushed?  Is there some way I can be trained and given the proper tools to do this myself if I want?
  10. What precautions is the hospital taking to limit COVID-19 exposure to cancer patients? 
  11. How do I access mental health care, should I need it, per your COVID-19 protocols? 
  12. How do I access a registered dietician, should I need one, per your COVID-19 protocols?
  13. Is it possible for you to prescribe a larger amount of my routine medications so I can limit my trips to the pharmacy (or requests to mail order pharmacy)?
  14. Is there a way I can receive urgent care or emergency room care without over-concern that I am exposing myself to COVID-19? Is there a dedicated urgent care or ER for COVID-19 patients or suspected patients that I can make plans to avoid? 
  15. What should I do if someone who lives with me contracts COVID-19?
  16. Is it safe for me to grocery shop in person or do other shopping or in-person activities at this time? 
  17. Can you recommend support groups or other social activities I can engage in online or at a safe distance at this time? 
  18. Is it safe for me to plan to attend birthday parties, holiday meals with extended family, religious services or other activities, with a mask on, or do you recommend avoiding those things at this time?
  19. What do you know about the experience of patients in my situation if they do catch COVID-19? How will we manage my care if I catch the virus? 
  20. If a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, do you recommend I get it?  Do you think it will be effective for me, given my current health?
  21. Is there a social worker who can help me complete or update my advance directives, like my durable power of attorney for healthcare? 
  22. When should I call my oncologist vs primary care physician if I think or know, via testing, that I have a COVID-19 infection?
  23. If I do acquire COVID-19, will I have to pause my treatments? What will happen to my treatment schedule? 
  24. Is it safe for me to work in a communal office or workplace at this time? 
  25. Additional information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology about COVID-19 and cancer

The content on this website is intended to provide the best possible information for you, but should not be considered—or used as a substitute for—medical advice. If you have questions about your diagnosis or treatment, please contact your health care provider(s). For questions or comments about this content, please email us at support@jasperhealth.com.