20 March 2020

European cancer organisation’s demands and sources of information

Knowledge of COVID-19 is growing but still sparse. For people receiving treatment for cancer and those weakened by its effects, there is little official guidance – for example on weighing the risk of continuing treatment against the risk of stopping it.

This week the European Cancer Organisation (ECCO) said the COVID-19 pandemic poses a significant threat for cancer patients, who deserve to be protected through immediate action all over Europe.

For cancer patients undergoing active treatment (chemotherapy, radiation or surgery) and people known to be at an elevated risk for complications from infection, ECCO demands that the following procedures are put in place as soon as possible:

  • Prompt COVID-19 screening of patients in care;
  • Rigorous implementation, across the health system, of guidelines on quarantining and hygiene standards;
  • Continuous and clear communication to healthcare professionals and the public about the ongoing situation.

Other sources of information on COVID-19 and cancer

Some general information and advice for cancer patients and survivors is available on the websites of many cancer organisations and charities, including: US

Macmillan UK

Ligue Contre le Cancer France

DKG Germany

Irish Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society has published a helpful “FAQ for clinicians” on COVID-19 and oncology

The Cancer Letter website is offering some helpful coverage aimed principally at clinicians, including a Guest Editorial on COVID-19 and the cancer patient: A call to action for balancing cancer care and viral risk.

Cancer World magazine is providing information as it becomes available

Cancer patients online

Meanwhile cancer patients themselves are gathering and sharing thoughts and information via online groups. In Ireland, cancer patients have started a #voicesofthevulnerable hashtag on Twitter. Let Europa Uomo know of any prostate patients that have started online groups to discuss what the crisis means for them.