Published on: 23 March 2020

Welcome to our dedicated page on the COVID-19 pandemic. Here you will find all info regarding how the pandemic may affect you. This page is updated as regularly as possible to give you the most recent information. However please always follow goverment guidance and any advice from your clinical team.

If you are looking for information targeted for our partners, clinical staff or for operational information, please access our COVID-19 Professionals Area.

Our Statement

In response to the COVID-19 situation we are working with our partner organisations to review the way we are working in order to be as flexible and adaptive as possible in this fast-paced situation. Cancer care and services continue to be our top priority.

We will be working through the formal established processes to issue any cancer specific clinical guidance. Our website and social media platforms will be used to provide more general information and messages about the situation and impact on our cancer services.

We are encouraging everyone to follow national guidance. You can access the most up-to-date information from the following sources: Advice for clinicians on the coronavirus is here. If you are a member of the public looking for health advice, go to the NHS website.

Help Us Help You

Help Us Help You is a national campaign which arised after reports showed referals from cancer symptons had significantly reduced during the COVID-19 Pandemic. There is also data to show four in ten people say they do not want to contact their GP because they are worried of being a burden. 

It is important you contact your GP if you have concerns about your health and are worried you are showing signs and symptoms of cancer.
You should also contact your medical team if you are a cancer patient with an ongoing issue. If it is urgent you should call 111 or 999 in an emergency.

For more information on when to contact your GP and a video from our Clinical Director and Co-Chair please click here.

You can also watch MacMillans video on why it is important that you help us to help you.

Support Services

You can find a full list of support services in our area here.

The below is a selection of national and regional support specifically relating to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Cavendish Cancer Care

Although the therapy centre is closed, Cavendish Cancer Care are continuing to support people affected by cancer, offering one to one counselling and therapeutic support by telephone and face to face online.

Cavensih Cancer Care have compiled a list of their available services and useful resources during the pandemic which you can view here.

The Eve Appeal (gynaecological)

The Eve Appeal have developed a cancer and coronavirus information hub, so that people can access up to date and accurate information on gynaecological cancer pathways, from first investigation of symptoms through to follow up post treatment, as well as information on the national cervical screening programme. www.eveappeal.org.uk/coronavirus 

The charity will be continually reviewing this information and making any updates as they are announced. They are working on further information around gynaecological cancers and coronavirus.

Their nurse-led information service, Ask Eve, is there to answer any questions relating to gynaecological health, and is completely free and confidential. People can contact Ask Eve by emailing nurse@eveappeal.org.uk or calling 0808 802 0019.

Pancreatic Cancer UK

Their Support Line: A team of pancreatic cancer specialist nurses are able to offer information and support to anyone affected by the disease and can answer concerns related to coronavirus (COVID-19). Freephone 0808 801 0707 Monday - Friday 10am - 4pm. Or email nurse@pancreaticcancer.org.uk

Expert information to order or download: booklets and fact sheets, reviewed by clinical experts, can be found here. They will be adding new information about how people with pancreatic cancer can improve their wellbeing during the outbreak.

Discussion forum: nurses will be producing short video clips and blogs to help people access support and information. The forum can be accessed here.

Pancreatic Cancer UK are developing a network which will aim to allow pancreatic cancer specialists to discuss and develop treatment and care pathways for patients with pancreatic cancer during the pandemic; develop and share consensus approaches; and allow clinicians to discuss specific, local issues with colleagues from across the country. It will support management planning for patients with pancreatic cancer and help us begin to create a database during the outbreak to inform future clinical decision making and clinical trials.

The below resources and support of the Network will be available throughout this time for you to access if and when you wish:

Virtual Meetings: attend/view virtual meetings to share and discuss the latest updates, approaches and challenges

Shared Folder: access the most up-to-date guidance notes around the treatment and care of pancreatic cancer in the UK during the pandemic

Newsletter: their newsletter will share a summary of the latest updates, documents, recorded webinars and any other useful information

Weston Park Cancer Charity

Weston Park Cancer Charity services conintue to run. 

Their helpline is 0114 553 3330 and is open Monday - Friday, 9am to 5pm. 

For more information on their services please click here.

Coronavirus Advice: National Lockdown - 5 January 2021

Following the announcement from the Prime Minister on the 4 January 2021, we are now in national lockdown as coronavirus cases continue to rise across the country. 

Many people affected by cancer will have been shielding for some time as people who are clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to stay at home as much as possible to limit your chances of getting the virus. You can continue to go outdoors for exercise or to attend essential health appointments unless you are advised otherwise by your healthcare team. 

People across the NHS are working incredibly hard to make services as safe as possible for those who need them and if you have any worries or any signs or symptoms that could be cancer, please contact your GP or if you are already accessing services, your cancer services team will be able to help and advise you. 

Vaccinations for Covid-19 are taking place across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw and you will be contacted by the NHS when it is your turn. We are following national guidance from The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to roll out the vaccination programme locally and regionally, with clinically vulnerable people being on the priority list. It is important to point out that if your immune system is suppressed in any way by your condition (and subsequent treatment) then you will need to continue shielding even if you have had the vaccine. 

Read the full guidance here.

Further information about the JCVI vaccination guidance is here.

Support available for people affected by cancer

We have some fantastic charity partners working across our region to support people affected by cancer and their families.
You can find more information on these charities and the support they offer below.
You can also view a full list of support services here.

FACE COVID eBook

FACE COVID is a set of practical steps by Dr Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap for responding effectively to the Corona crisis. You can read it here. FACE COVID uses the principles of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Here’s a quick summary of the key steps:

F = Focus on what’s in your control
A = Acknowledge your thoughts & feelings
C = Come back into your body
E = Engage in what you’re doing
C = Committed action
O = Opening up
V = Values
I = Identify resources
D = Disinfect & distance

Radiotherapy During COVID-19 Information

This document has been made to reassure you of the precautions in place to ensure your radiotherapy remains safe. 

It has been produced by CRUK, Macmillan, RCR, SCoR,and IPEM. The document covers what you can do yourself to help ensure a safe appointment as well as what precautions you might find when you arrive. 

You can access it here.

Vaccine Information for Cancer Patients and FAQs

We are following the national guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) in regards to COVID-19 vaccinations. 

You also find more succint information here produced by Macmillan.

FAQs can be found here and below.

FAQs

All information refers to the Pfizer and Astra Zeneca vaccinations for Covid-19

Can I have the vaccination?

YES. The vast majority of people on cancer treatment are fine to be vaccinated, even if you are on chemotherapy, targeted anti-cancer drugs, immunotherapy or radiotherapy.

Are there any extra risks to cancer patients?

NO.  The vaccine is not a live virus and so cannot make you ill, even if your immune system is affected by chemotherapy. There is no evidence that the vaccine is unsafe with anti-cancer therapies.

When should I have the vaccine?

For patients undergoing chemotherapy:  We recommend you have the vaccine just prior to starting your next cycle of chemotherapy when your blood counts are likely to have recovered. This is to maximise the chance your body will produce immunity as a result of the vaccine.  However, if you do not have a choice in dates, or on continuous chemotherapy, it is safe to have your vaccination at any point as you will still be offered protection from becoming seriously ill with Covid-19.

For other treatments: (Targeted therapies, monoclonal antibodies without chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiotherapy) - it is safe to have your vaccination at any point during or after your treatment.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t be vaccinated?

According to the national guidance:

  • Anyone who has had a previous severe allergic reaction to any components of the vaccine.
  • Anyone with very low platelet levels.
  • If you are pregnant and/or breastfeeding you will need to discuss this with your GP/health care professional.

For further advice, please speak to your consultant or your GP.

The vaccination programme is being co-ordinated by GP surgeries and you will be contacted when appointments are available.

How do I get a vaccination?

The NHS vaccination programme is being delivered by GPs and larger vaccination sites such as the Sheffield Arena for South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw. When people get their vaccination depends on the priority group you fall into. The priority groups are set by The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)  and are shown overleaf You do not need to do anything, you will be contacted by the NHS when it is your turn to book an appointment.  Please do not contact your GP or hospital, you will be contacted direct.

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