Mercy Medical Oncologist Dr. David Riseberg Discusses COVID-19 and its Impact on Cancer Patients
People undergoing cancer treatments have immunosuppressed systems, making it harder to fight off infections, like the coronavirus. That puts them at a higher risk for serious complications, like pneumonia and hospitalization.
Oncologists are taking a closer look at continuing or modifying cancer treatments for patients.
According to Dr. David Riseberg, Chief of Medical Oncology and Hematology at Mercy Medical Center, continuing treatment depends upon the circumstance. For many patients, treatment is continued if it's important for their health in relation to the cancer.
“There are some situations though, where maybe the indication for chemotherapy is such where it's okay to delay it for a little bit. So, particularly in breast cancer, we have the opportunity sometimes to use pills that are estrogen-blocking. We can do that for a few months then go back to chemo. So we're really taking it on a case-by-case basis,” Dr. Riseberg said.
If you are undergoing treatment, it's advised you call your health care provider before your next appointment and follow their guidance.
As health care systems adjust their activities to address the virus, doctors treating cancer patients may also have to change when and how cancer treatment and follow-up visits are carried out.
The risk of missing a cancer treatment or medical appointment must be weighed against the possibility of exposing a patient to infection.
View Mercy medical oncologist Dr. David Riseberg’s interview about chemotherapy patients and COVID-19.
Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on Facebook, Twitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.