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Cancer and COVID-19

Author: M. Sharon Stack, PhD

We are all now well aware of the basic preventative measures to protect ourselves from COVID-19 infection including frequent hand washing, social distancing, and staying home when possible. However, cancer patients often have a weakened immune system, putting them at higher risk for infection. A brief summary of informational resources for cancer patients, their caregivers, and oncology professionals follow.

The American Cancer Society recommends that “Cancer patients and their caregivers need to take precautions to lower their risk of getting COVID-19.” American Cancer Society’s information on the impact of COVID-19 on cancer patients and survivors can be found here:

To reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, Deputy Chief Medical Officer of the American Cancer Society, also recommends postponing routine cancer screening tests such as mammograms, colonoscopies, etc. for the time being.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is “united in working together to continue the critical work of conquering cancer during this health care crisis.” Dr. Richard L. Schilsky, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of ASCO also notes “Our patients are already dealing with a life-threating illness and are particularly vulnerable to this viral infection”

ASCO information for oncology professionals regarding to help ensure high-quality clinical care for cancer patients is available at:

ASCO also hosts a blog by Dr. Merry Jennifer Markham for cancer patients to provide practical advice about COVID-19 and cancer. Dr. Markham’s blog is here:

We will update this page with additional information as it becomes available.

Originally published by M. Sharon Stack, PhD at on March 30, 2020.