Please read our updated visitor policy. For information about COVID-19 including symptoms, prevention and travel advice, please read our patient guide. If you have developed a fever, cough, shortness of breath or other respiratory symptoms, please schedule a Video Visit to discuss symptoms with your provider.
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What Cancer Patients Should Know about COVID-19
March 20, 2020
Physicians and staff within the division of Hematology and Oncology are committed to protecting the health and safety of our cancer patient community in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). We are here to provide guidance and support during this challenging time, and understand that the current situation may create additional stressors for cancer patients and their loved ones.
Please know that we remain dedicated to the health and wellbeing of our cancer community. Continuing to provide world-class cancer care for our oncology patients is very important to us and we are still accepting new patients.
As part of our mission to provide care during this unprecedented time, our team has been implementing extensive patient-centered precautions. These include efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within our facilities and the expansion of virtual video-based appointments when appropriate. We also provide expert, multidisciplinary care for any patient with cancer who needs medical attention for COVID-19.
Video Visits allow patients to speak to physicians virtually in order to receive high-quality care from the safety and convenience of their own homes, helping to maintain social distance. Please contact us at (646) 962-2800 to inquire about video visits or schedule a video visit appointment. We are here to answer any questions that you may have.
Below, we’ve addressed some frequently asked questions to help people with cancer and their loved ones to best navigate this rapidly evolving situation.
COVID-19 and Cancer: Frequently Asked Questions
Are cancer patients at increased risk of getting sick with COVID-19?
People most at risk for getting very sick from COVID-19 infection are older people and those with underlying health conditions. If you are currently receiving cancer treatment or have recently completed treatment, you may be more susceptible to becoming sick with COVID-19.
People are encouraged to be especially cautious if they have:
- A hematologic malignancy – A blood cancer such as lymphoma, leukemia, myeloma or myeloproliferative neoplasm
- Recently undergone bone marrow or stem cell transplantation
Do cancer patients show different COVID-19 symptoms?
Reported COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough or shortness of breath, and may be mild to severe. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) believes that symptoms may appear within 2 to 14 days of exposure.
Cancer patients, like other people impacted by the coronavirus, may experience mild to severe symptoms. If you feel you are experiencing symptoms, call your oncology provider’s office or our COVID-19 hotline at (646) 697-4000 for guidance.
What special precautions can cancer patients take to protect themselves against COVID-19?
Cancer patients should follow the CDC’s recommendations to help prevent infection and stop the spread of coronavirus.
Do not underestimate the power of a full night’s sleep (7 to 8 hours), aerobic exercise (preferably at home or outdoors, versus a gym) and a balanced diet (with plenty of fruits and vegetables) for bolstering the immune system.
Are you currently accepting new patients?
A cancer diagnosis can feel scary at any time, but people recently diagnosed with cancer should not feel alone during this difficult time. Our Weill Cornell Medicine cancer experts are here for you and still accepting new patients for both initial consultations and second opinions.
Our team has been implementing extensive patient-centered precautions as part of our commitment to continue to provide cancer care and prevent the spread of COVID-19 at our facilities. We have also expanded our video-based appointment capabilities, as telehealth can be a great resource for many cancer patients. Additionally, we are still able to provide telephone consults and to facilitate work-ups and referrals when needed. Please contact us at (646) 962-2800 to inquire about making an appointment or scheduling a video visit.
Should cancer patients attend appointments as usual?
Weill Cornell Medicine is taking a number of precautionary steps to minimize the risk of exposure to our patients and community.
Our hematologists and oncologists offer video visits when appropriate. Many routine visits, consultations and follow-up visits with our providers have already been rescheduled or converted to video visits.
Video visits allow patients to receive high-quality care from the safety and convenience of their own homes, while adhering to social distancing recommendations to minimize exposure to other individuals.
To schedule a video visit, please follow the instructions below.
Call (646) 962-2800, and ask to schedule a video visit with your preferred physician.
Call your physician’s office, and ask to schedule a video visit.
Please be aware that the location of some in-person infusion or treatment visits may change. Your healthcare team will be in touch with you if this is the case for your visit.
Can patients’ family and friends attend in-person appointments?
While we recognize the value of family and friends’ support throughout cancer diagnosis and treatment, keeping patients and their loved ones safe from coronavirus infection requires temporary changes to our visitor policies. Read our current visitation guidelines.
What should cancer patients do if they think that they have been infected?
If you have COVID-19 symptoms or suspect that you have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, contact your doctor for further instruction. If you need in-person medical attention, your doctor will advise you regarding the necessary steps and preparations to protect you and others at the facility before you arrive.
Please do not visit your doctor’s office or the emergency department without first being in touch with your healthcare team.
Our patients are welcome to call our hotline at (646) 697-4000 with questions at any time.
The United States healthcare system’s response to COVID-19 is continually adapting to meet the best interest of public health and safety. For the most up-to-date information and guidelines related to COVID-19, please call Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital’s COVID-19 hotline – (646) 697-4000 – or visit nyc.gov/health/coronavirus or cdc.gov/coronavirus.