Expert Addresses Fear and Uncertainty Patients with Cancer Feel from COVID-19 Disruptions
“There's a lot of miscommunication and number one, I would tell them you don't need to face these decisions alone,” Dr. Pat Basu said in an interview addressing patient’s fear in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
BY Dr. Pat Basu
PUBLISHED July 10, 2020
Along with the disruption of treatment for patients with cancer as a result of COVID-19 comes fear and uncertainty over the next steps and what the landscape of cancer care will look like moving forward, but it’s important to remind patients they aren’t alone, according to Dr. Pat Basu.
In an interview with CURE®’s sister publication, CancerNetwork™, Basu, president and CEO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America, discussed how he would address the fear and uncertainty patients are facing and reminds them that they aren’t alone.
First of all, I would say that my heart goes out to all (patients with cancer). I've spoken to dozens, if not hundreds of patients, over the last several months, and yet, there's a lot of uncertainty out there.
There's a lot of miscommunication and number one, I would tell them you don't need to face these decisions alone. Call your provider, call me you know, I I love doing what I do and so much about cancer care is treating the body but it's also virtually holding somebody's hand. In a virtual environment we're not doing that but it's just being an empathetic listener to say let's think about this.
Number two, everything in life, and particularly in medicine, has a cost benefit ratio. And there is a very scientific very medical way of approaching the situation, here are the risks on the left hand of not, you know, not treating or diagnosing your disease and here are the risks on the right hand of, you know the COVID-19 pandemic.
And if the risks of not trading cancer outweigh the likelihood of what might happen with COVID then that means we need to treat the cancer now. It doesn't mean you just frivolously ignore COVID, it means that you maintain proper protections that we you know, we ensure that you are masked that you are socially distance that you are screen that you are tested. That you were in entering an environment where you are confident that everybody has had that done, where you're not mixing with other COVID-19 patients.
So, there are ways now where it is much better off than it would have been in the earliest weeks of March, where you know, we feel extremely confident that you can get lifesaving cancer care even while we see spikes around the country with COVID-19.