Coronavirus, also referred to as COVID-19, has changed the way we live. In particular, those suffering from mesothelioma have been disproportionately impacted by this deadly virus. Mesothelioma sufferers face heightened risk for a lengthy hospital stay as well as death simply because mesothelioma affects the lungs.
Coronavirus is a direct threat to the respiratory system, making everyday living that much more perilous for mesothelioma patients with already-weakened lungs. The virus attacks cells within the lungs, replicating in an infinite manner until it overwhelms the respiratory system. This is precisely why mesothelioma patients are in the cross-hairs of COVID-19.
Mesothelioma Patients are Living in Fear During Uncertain Times
Mesothelioma patients far and wide are living beneath a black cloud of fear amidst the coronavirus pandemic. This deadly virus is so pervasive and powerful that it is keeping individuals saddled with mesothelioma idle at home, quarantined due to the fear of contraction and a subsequent weakening of the lungs. Sadly, these patients are less likely to visit with their doctor and other healthcare service providers simply because they fear a visit to the local physician’s office, hospital or other treatment center will heighten the chances of a coronavirus infection. This reluctance to obtain essential medical assistance is likely to significantly spike mesothelioma patient death rates.
It is possible upwards of 30,000 or more completely unnecessary deaths will occur in the United States alone as mesothelioma and other cancer patients socially distance from medical care providers due to an overarching fear of contracting COVID-19. Some of these deaths will result from mesothelioma-caused cancer that is not properly treated due to the quarantine. In other cases, mesothelioma patients with weakened respiratory and immune systems will contract COVID-19 and subsequently pass away. The bottom line is mesothelioma patients and other cancer patients have multimorbidity that elevates their risk for death amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
The Risk of Maintaining a Treatment Regimen
Mesothelioma patients are advised to continue their existing treatment regimen. Though there is certainly an element of risk in stepping foot into a medical office, hospital or other medical treatment facility, the risk of abstaining from treatment is much greater than the threat of the potential presence of coronavirus in a medical facility. Mesothelioma patients are advised to wear a mask and gloves when visiting their physician or other medical services provider. Do not touch your face while outside of the house for your medical appointment. Throw out your gloves after exiting the facility. Thoroughly wash your hands after returning home.
The bottom line is the failure to attend your scheduled treatment session dramatically hikes your chances of a worsened illness or even death. Even if the coronavirus is present at the medical facility where you are treated, it is not guaranteed you will contract the virus by simply showing up for your scheduled mesothelioma treatment. Continue with your chemotherapy treatment or radiation therapy and you will stand an improved chance of combating mesothelioma as well as coronavirus.
What About Mesothelioma Cancer Patients in Remission?
It is clear mesothelioma patients face an elevated risk for respiratory system failure and other complications resulting from COVID-19. However, even those who are in remission are also considered at-risk patients. These individuals are at an elevated risk for significant coronavirus complications. Sadly, cancer treatments have the potential to weaken the human body’s immune system, making it that much more challenging to combat infections such as the coronavirus. Therefore, if you or your loved one are in chemotherapy or radiation or have recently completed such a treatment regimen, you should be on guard as your immune system is likely depressed.
Aside from visiting with medical professionals and possibly buying groceries, you should remain at home as long as possible until COVID-19 is no longer a significant threat. It will also help to spray down your mail, deliveries and groceries with Lysol or another virus-killing spray before opening them. Wash your hands with antibacterial soap and hot water for a minimum of 20 seconds after returning home or handling packages/mail. Maintain 6-12 feet of distance between yourself and other people until the pandemic ends.
Your Mesothelioma Treatment Might be Delayed as a Result of Coronavirus
There is a chance your scheduled mesothelioma treatment will be delayed or canceled indefinitely due to the rise of COVID-19. Plenty of hospitals and other medical facilities are canceling or postponing patient treatments and procedures in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the virus. However, many cancer treatment centers are still providing treatment for mesothelioma patients. When in doubt, reach out to your treatment coordinator to determine the course of your treatment amidst the pandemic. If scheduling changes need to be made, comply with those requests and you will have done your part to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Elderly Mesothelioma Patients Face Heightened Risk
Mesothelioma and COVID-19 have a particularly harsh effect on senior citizens. Mesothelioma is that much more likely to develop in the elderly as it takes upwards of several decades to manifest within the body. Seniors saddled with mesothelioma typically have abbreviated survival times compared to younger patients simply because their body is not in optimal shape to handle the impact of cancer.
Furthermore, the elderly do not have the same strength and immune system capability to combat the coronavirus as younger patients. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reinforced the fact that the elderly face a heightened risk for coronavirus. Those with underlying medical conditions such as mesothelioma are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. If you or a loved one are currently taking an immunosuppressant for such a condition, it is possible your body might not be able to combat COVID-19. If this is the case, discuss the matter with your primary care providers as soon as possible to determine your best course of action in the event you are infected with COVID-19.
If you require legal assistance, consult with a mesothelioma attorney as soon as possible.