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Dr. Brookland Discusses COVID-19 and Cancer

July 16, 2020
If you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with cancer, you may be about an increased risk of contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19). Brandi Proctor of Bmore Lifestyle talked with Dr. Robert Brookland, Chair of Radiation Oncology at GBMC, about what GBMC is doing to safeguard patients undergoing treatment for cancer and the proactive steps they and their families can take to lower their risk of contracting the virus.

One of the key steps GBMC is taking is limiting access for visitors to the hospital except in special cases. People receiving outpatient care can bring someone with them to appointments if they need special assistance. Any support person who comes to the appointment will need to undergo COVID-19 screening at the office or facility. For people receiving inpatient care, bringing someone with you is discouraged except in special circumstances such as childbirth or emergency surgery.

Dr. Brookland pointed out that not all people who have been diagnosed with cancer have significantly compromised immune systems, a risk factor for COVID-19. At this point in time, he explained it is safe for patients to start or continue cancer treatment that may have been postponed earlier in the pandemic when the caseload was higher.

He also emphasized the importance of wearing a mask and wearing it correctly, covering your mouth and nose. “Masks stop the spread of the microparticles of the virus that come from coughs and sneezes,” he said. “Because we care about our community and care about the health and wellbeing of others, we wear a mask to lower the risk of spreading COVID-19. Relaxing safety precautions too quickly can have a significant negative impact on our community. We’re seeing that hard lesson play out in California, Florida, and Texas and we should take it to heart. We can beat this pandemic, but we have to stick with responsible actions.”
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