FAQ about COVID-19 and prostate cancer
According to experts, it is to be expected that the spread of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) will not be over in just a few weeks, but may continue for months. Many prostate cancer patients are unsettled: How will the pandemic affect my cancer therapy? Will I have to stop the radiation treatment? Am I at particular risk? The West German Prostate Center (WPZ) answers the most frequently asked questions on "COVID-19 and prostate cancer".
Do I have to postpone or discontinue my radiation therapy because of the corona pandemic?
Neither brachytherapy nor external radiation therapy should be postponed or interrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is pointed out by the Working Group for Radiological Oncology (ARO) and the German Society for Radiation Oncology (DEGRO) in a current statement. However, if you or a person with whom you have had physical contact has symptoms of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) infection, you should no longer visit the practice. In such a case, please contact the West German Prostate Center immediately by TELEPHONE to discuss further procedures.
Please note that cancer patients are generally considered a risk group and should therefore be tested for the virus in case of symptoms or contact with a sick person. In such a case, please contact your family doctor or the responsible health authority.
I am scheduled for a biopsy to determine if I have prostate cancer. Do I run the risk of contracting the novel corona virus?
We are aware of the fact that every medical intervention is always associated with worries and uncertainty on the part of patients, once again against the background of the novel corona virus. We assure you, however, that we minimize additional risks through a coordinated risk and hygiene management. This also applies to biopsies for the removal of tissue from the prostate. In concrete terms, this means that taking samples from the prostate itself does not involve an increased risk of infection. The material and the couches are disinfected and the medical staff work to the highest standards of hygiene. The organisational and medical processes are also optimised to prevent the risk of infection as far as possible. This includes not only disinfecting hands immediately after entering the practice, but also a stay in the waiting room limited to a few minutes.
But here, too, the following applies: In case of fever, coughing, flu-like symptoms or contact with a Covid-19 patient, it is absolutely necessary to contact the West German Prostate Center by telephone in advance so that further procedures can be discussed together.
I have just started a combined chemo- and hormone therapy. What do I have to consider?
Now it is particularly important to follow the recommended rules of behaviour and hygiene consistently and meticulously. This is especially true if you receive cancer therapy that weakens the immune system, as is the case with chemotherapy. It is equally important for their protection to make their relatives aware of the recommended measures for the prevention of COVID-19 disease and to avoid physical contact with other people - including contact with close family members such as children and grandchildren - as far as possible.
I had a seed implantation four weeks ago. Should I keep my appointment for follow-up planning despite the Corona pandemic?
During the follow-up planning, which takes place about 4 weeks after the procedure, computer tomography is used to document that the seeds are in the positions originally planned. You should keep this appointment, but the time is variable within a certain time window of a few weeks, so that a postponement of the appointment is possible without any problems. If you or a contact person, e.g. a close relative, has symptoms of an infection with the new corona virus or if you have stayed in a risk area, you should not visit the practice. In such a case, please contact us in advance by telephone so that we can discuss the further procedure. The same applies to all further follow-up examinations, including regular determination of the PSA level and ultrasound examination of the prostate.
My prostate cancer treatment was already several months ago. Am I still particularly at risk from the new coronavirus?
Patients with a well-controlled disease or after successfully completed initial treatment generally do not have an increased risk of a severe course of disease when infected with SARS-CoV-2. However, this only applies if they are not at risk due to other previous diseases (diabetes mellitus, certain lung and heart diseases).