Coronavirus: What People with Cancer Should Know
What is coronavirus, or COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals. CDC is responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and has now been detected in the United States and many other countries. The virus has been named SARS-CoV-2, and the disease it causes has been named coronavirus disease 2019, which is abbreviated COVID-19.
If I have cancer, am I at higher risk of getting or dying from COVID-19?
If I have cancer, how can I protect myself?
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 or specific treatment for it. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Precautions for avoiding COVID-19 are the same as for other contagious respiratory illnesses, such as influenza (flu).
- Avoid large social gatherings and close contact with people who are sick
- Avoid unnecessary person-to-person contact, such as handshakes
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; and before and after coming in contact with others
- Get a flu vaccine
CDC recommends additional actions to help keep people at high risk for developing serious complications from COVID-19 healthy in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, including:
- Stay home as much as possible
- Make sure you have access to several weeks of medication and supplies in case you need to stay home for prolonged periods of time
- When you do go out in public, avoid crowds
- Avoid cruise ship travel and nonessential air travel
NCI provides tips and resources for the cancer community to prepare for any emergency.