At present, almost half the world is in lock-down due to the corona virus outbreak and it is difficult to predict for how long this situation might remain the same. In India, it is almost certain that the lock-down due to COVID 19 will be extended till at least end of April. Even though we are in a state of lock-down but our body is still functioning and that means diseases like cancer might still be growing inside our system. So how does one deal with a problem like breast cancer/ breast lump during this period.
Tips for existing breast cancer patients
- Remain in touch with your treating breast cancer surgeon/ breast cancer oncologist. They will outline the treatment protocol during this period
- If you have an early stage breast cancer which is curable, you should not defer your treatment during this period, as it can lead to progression of the cancer.
- If you are suffering from cancer which has spread to the body (metastatic breast cancer), then discuss with your doctor if the chemotherapy frequency can be reduced or if you can be shifted to hormonal therapy/ oral treatment for the time being.
- Corona virus infection is usually severe in patients who are suffering from pre-existing conditions like cancer, diabetes, hypertension. So, please take all precautions to prevent infections
- Eat a healthy/ balanced diet. Avoid outside food.
- Make sure you take your daily dose of vitamin C. This can either be in the form of a supplement or just a glass of lemonade
- If you are undergoing chemotherapy (which can lead to reduced immunity and white blood count), please monitor the blood counts and if they are low, consult your breast cancer doctor immediately
- Wear a mask whenever you are venturing out of your home, especially, when you are going to the hospital
- Maintain strict hand hygiene. Wash your hands multiple times a day and use a hand sanitizer liberally
Recently detected a breast lump – what should you do during this period?
During the lock-down, lot of ladies are taking out time to carry out breast self examination and they are picking up new breast lumps. If you are one of them, I would advise that you consult a breast lump surgeon immediately. This consultation can either be an online consultation or a physical visit to the hospital. In an online consultation, if the doctor feels the need to carry out a physical examination, he/she would call you to the hospital.
A breast lump should not be ignored because if it is cancerous, it can increase in size during this period. A mammography or an ultrasound should be done after physical examination and if the lump is suspicious, a biopsy/ needle test should be done to confirm the diagnosis. If the breast lump turns out to be non cancerous (benign), then the treatment can be deferred till the time COVI19 situation improves. Your doctor can provide you medicines during this period to deal with the problem/ breast pain associated with the lump.
If the lump turns out to be breast cancer, as I have highlighted above, please consult your doctor and make a treatment plan which is suitable to you.
These are testing times for everyone, including patients. One has to be cautious about not getting infected by the virus as well as make sure that their breast cancer/ breast lump treatment doesn’t suffer. If you follow the tips which I have highlighted above, you can tide over this phase without compromising your health.
This information has been provided by
Breast Cancer Surgeon
CK Birla Hospital, Gurgaon
To book an online consultation with Dr. Rohan Khandelwal, click here