Cancer & Coronavirus FAQs

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If you’re a cancer patient, survivor, or caregiver, we’re here for you. 

If you’re having an emergency, call 911 or go to the ER for urgent care. If it’s not an emergency, call your care team for guidance.

Can I bring someone with me to my appointments at the Cancer Center or other cancer clinics?

Yes. See the full visitor restrictions for any exceptions.

Does having cancer mean I’m more at risk of getting sick from the coronavirus?

Yes. Cancer and cancer treatments both can make your immune system weaker. With this lowered immunity, your body will have a harder time fighting the virus. You could potentially become sicker than someone who doesn’t have cancer.

What should I do to prevent getting infected?

Follow the recommended steps for coronavirus prevention.

Should I get a booster dose of the COVID vaccine?

Talk to your care team if you have qustions about getting a third dose of vaccine.

You can also read the guidance from the CDC for more answers.

Do all people with cancer have the same risk?

No. People with blood cancer, including lymphomas, multiple myeloma, and most types of leukemia, have the most weakened immune systems. You’re also at a high risk of dangerous infection if you’re actively getting intense treatments like: 

  • Chemotherapy, radiation, targeted therapy, or immunotherapy
  • Stem cell or bone marrow transplant

I’m a cancer survivor. Should I worry?

If you’ve finished cancer treatments, your immune system has likely recovered. Follow the standard steps for coronavirus prevention.

When I go outside, do I need to take extra steps to stay safe?

Follow the recommended CDC guidelines regarding social distancing. If you are unsure or feel you have a unique circumstance, please talk to your cancer care team about whether you need to take additional precautions.

Can I still come in for infusion?

Yes. See our infusion FAQs.

If I'm sick with COVID, will my scheduled stem cell transplant still take place?

For your safety and protection, we'll be testing everyone for COVID-19 24-48 hours before stem cell treatment. If you have the infection, we'll work with you on next steps.

I’m feeling worried and stressed. Where can I find support?

The Cancer Center is offering virtual support groups and classes for cancer patients. See the list of upcoming events.

Free Online Nia & Yoga

Also, cancer patients and caregivers can join a free online Nia class for mindful, holistic movement and dance. To register, email Susan Tate.

Can I access any online support for cancer & coronavirus?

Yes. Many organizations have developed resources and created online forums and classes to help during the pandemic. We recommend:

I provide care for someone with cancer. What do I need to do at this time?

You probably feel more stressed than normal. That makes sense. The person you care for has a greater risk of severe infection than most. Make sure to protect yourself from infection. Also: Create a backup plan, should you get sick.

My primary caregiver has begun feeling sick with respiratory symptoms, but I feel fine; what should I do?

If your caregiver is feeling ill, they should self-isolate in a separate room in the home and reach out to their primary care provider for further instructions.

At the same time, you should reach out to your cancer care team for guidance.

How do I protect myself and my caregiver when we need to come to UVA Health for treatment?

Follow the recommended coronavirus prevention.