COVID-19 Head and Neck Cancer Discussion Group Concerns
Hello from the Northern Front Range of Colorado. We recently had our monthly Head and Neck Cancer support group meeting by video conference.
The main topic of discussion was the COVID-19 virus, and because there were medical doctors who are also survivors present on the call, we probably spent more time talking about that than our usual discussions concerning head and neck cancer.
The primary concern for all of us was not just the potential for contracting the virus, but what effect it might have on each of us because of the various levels of damage we now live with post-treatment. Also, because many of us are in our 60s and 70s, there is the additional concern with COVID-19’s impact on not only cancer patients but on individuals over 60. I don’t think that we came to any conclusions; however, fortunately, no one in our group that we know of has reported being infected.
Because our membership consists of patients, who are both in treatment and survivors who are as much as 15 years out, the discussions can cover a very wide range of needs. The most common response from those who are several years out is that all of their follow up sessions with doctors, therapists, etc. had been postponed. However, the patients who were still undergoing treatment are on their regular schedules.
Further, along with the delayed follow-ups with ENTs, radiologists, oncologists, etc., all other types of appointments had also been deferred.
I guess that I am a good example of all that. I am more than five years out and had recently “furloughed” my ENT and oncologist. I, in good humor, told them I was firing them, and they said “go with their best wishes.” However, because I have become a test subject in the National Institutes of Health Phase One Study on regenerating salivary glands, I also have been notified that all studies, including my own, have been deferred for a minimum of 45 days, starting from March 26. I am guessing that there will be further delays as we approach the end of that period. Also because of my participation in the study, and my need to have some dental work done as the result of my earlier radiation damage, I found that although my root canals were finished and temporary fillings applied, I could not have those fillings replaced by my regular dentist at this time. I am being very careful about what I chew.
Business Partner in a company developing infectious disease diagnostics, including a Head and Neck Cancer rapid test
Stage 4 Tongue and Neck Cancer, HPV Negative; Windsor, CO