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Cancer care during lockdown (COVID-19)

Cancer care during lockdown (COVID-19)

| from Booking Health GmbH | Diagnosis & treatment

Many people are convinced that cancer is a fatal diagnosis, even though many of its forms are amenable to successful treatments. Having learned about cancer, some people prefer to go abroad for treatment, where at least 95% of all patients with cancer can successfully get rid of the disease. However, the COVID pandemic has turned...

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Many people are convinced that cancer is a fatal diagnosis, although many forms of cancer can be successfully treated. After learning about cancer, some people choose to go abroad for treatment, where at least 95% of all cancer patients can successfully get rid of the disease. However, the COVID pandemic has turned millions of lives upside down, making it difficult to get cancer care. Fortunately, having a medical visa allows you to undergo treatment in the world's best hospitals, even during the quarantine. Booking Health offers assistance in obtaining a medical visa and extending a medical visa without leaving the country if necessary.

Content

  1. The state of cancer care during the coronavirus pandemic
  2. Treatment of cancer patients during the COVID-19 pandemic
  3. What if during a pandemic you suspect cancer or are diagnosed with cancer?
  4. Benefits of cancer treatment in Germany during the lockdown
  5. How to undergo treatment in Germany
  6. How the Booking Health can help

The state of cancer care during the coronavirus pandemic

 

Getting proper cancer care has always been a difficult process. However, as news of the COVID pandemic shook the world, many cancer patients became anxious and confused about how exactly they should start or continue treatment. And not only patients are confused by the news of the quarantine, but also doctors.

The current pandemic is complicating cancer treatment. With the huge number of infected patients worldwide and the rapidly growing number of newly diagnosed patients, COVID-19 is an unprecedented challenge for healthcare systems. However, it is also important to understand that mortality from other diseases, such as cancer, remains similarly high. Due to the coronavirus crisis, healthcare professionals are faced with the need to completely reorganize healthcare systems, not only to deal effectively with the COVID-19, but also to do so while continuing to treat patients with other diseases.

The current COVID-19 pandemic requires oncologists to completely reorganize cancer care to minimize hospital visits and admissions, and reduce complications without compromising treatment outcomes. Because COVID-19 is a new disease, there is often a lack of scientific advice, but doctors still inevitably have to make very difficult decisions about other treatments.

There are many aspects that hospital management must take into account in order to be able to ensure the continuity of treatment for cancer patients during this time: the process of care, skilled personnel, hospital capacity, research activities, and regional and national collaboration to share the complexity of cancer care.

Given the lack of scientific news at this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the measures taken were based on educated assumptions and expert opinions, taking into account information about other infectious diseases. Because oncologists are accustomed to making informed decisions based on news of large clinical trials, the reality in which they have to decide almost immediately what is most important and what is fading away may seem like rough medical practice.

Still, hospitals do everything possible to maintain high standards of cancer care for patients while addressing shortages of personal protective equipment, patient accommodation, staff shortages, and many other challenges.

In cancer treatment facilities, the main policy is to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the hospital and to ensure that there is sufficient treatment capacity for emergency cancer surgery or to control the side effects of systemic cancer therapy. This will allow local general hospitals to transfer cancer patients to treatment centers and focus their efforts on treating COVID-19 patients in addition to those with other emergencies. Thus, cancer centers are directly dependent on cooperation with local general hospitals and the absence of patients infected with COVID-19 in the institution.

However, it is extremely important to note that there are differences in the specific strategies of hospitals, which are partly a result of the fact that healthcare is organized differently in different countries, and also because the development of the COVID-19 pandemic follows different scenarios.

Treatment of cancer patients during the COVID-19 pandemic

 

Even during a pandemic, medical care for cancer patients during lockdown must be provided in full. Therefore, medical visas are valid even during quarantine, so patients have the opportunity to visit specialized medical institutions.

However, the lockdown has created other problems for cancer patients. Although the basic guidelines (social distancing, hand washing, wearing gloves and masks) are not so difficult to follow, the planned treatment forces many patients to interrupt the isolation regimen.

Cancellation of treatment for cancer patients is much more dangerous than a possible coronavirus infection, according to news in medical research.

All cancer patients can be divided into three clinical groups.

The first one is patients in whom a malignant tumor is confirmed for the first time and the patient needs treatment.

The second type is patients who are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Depending on the specifics of each case, is it possible to postpone the course. These risks are assessed by the doctor on an individual basis.

Finally, the third group of cancer patients are those who have undergone treatment and who currently have no obvious signs of the disease. They require regular dispensary examinations, and in case of recurrence of the disease - continuation of treatment. Such patients should first observe the isolation regimen. There are many such patients, and they must adhere to all recommended isolation measures. And in case of any problems or symptoms, it is imperative to consult a doctor. If cancer patients do not require urgent treatment, patients are advised to postpone their hospital visit.

Meanwhile, if a person is young and healthy, he has no concomitant diseases and the body can resist the infection, it can pass asymptomatically, and such people will develop an immune response. But if a person has health problems, for example, chronic diseases of the lungs, cardiovascular system, diabetes mellitus, there is a risk of exacerbation of these disorders and even death as a result of their decompensation.

Coronavirus belongs to the same group of respiratory viruses as influenza, which means that it causes acute inflammation of the respiratory system. The changes caused by the coronavirus in the lung tissue are more serious.

The main difference is that humanity has not yet experienced this type of virus, which is why it's infectiousness and infectiousness are so high. And since a small number of people were recently found to be immune to COVID-19, most people are at risk for the disease. How a person will fight the disease depends on the body's immunity.

Often during and after cancer treatment, the immune system begins to work in different ways (sometimes it even becomes too aggressive, which is also not very good for the body). People with lung cancer are at high risk due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. This group also includes people undergoing chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy. Patients who have undergone bone marrow or hematopoietic stem cell transplants are also at risk. The immune system also does not work well for certain types of cancer, such as leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.

As a result, the person becomes susceptible to infectious diseases or they can be more severe.

It is believed that cancer patients affected the immune system. And in many cancer patients, the tumor is the result of a disrupted immune system. For example, if a person has a local tumor process, without damaging cellular immunity, then he is not susceptible to infectious diseases. But in elderly or weakened people, oncology can be a manifestation of a poor state of immunity. Consequently, all cancer patients are at high risk of infection and death.

 

Case report

Patient Oksana, Russia.

Not so long ago I got sick. Doctors in Russia said they could not cure me. I got help and found Booking Health online. In half an hour my manager Tanya Meyer called me back. We sent her all the medical records, and a few days later she offered a choice of a city and a hospital in Germany, where she can undergo stem cell therapy.

I received the program and the cost of the treatment. The company made a condition to make the payment before signing the contract. The amount was rather big, and I, like any person, was worried. I paid and received a contract. Then my manager Oksana Stark took care of me. Then she directed our actions, answered phone calls and e-mail at any time of the day. Without her help, we would not have come to Germany, since we did not have visas, and visa centers did not work due to the coronavirus. Thanks to the help of Booking Health and her employee Oksana Stark, we received a visa upon arrival in Germany, at the airport. I want to express my deep gratitude to Oksana Stark, who kept in touch with me throughout the trip. I could call her on any question and sort it out. She is a kind and friendly person, she was interested in how we settled down, and gave advice. Even after returning to Russia, she called and asked about my health. Many thanks to Elena Sergeeva, CEO of Booking Health GmbH, managers Tanya Meyer and Oksana Stark for organizing the trip for treatment and the opportunity to recover.

 

Cancer care during lockdown (COVID-19)

 

What if during a pandemic you suspect cancer or are diagnosed with cancer?

 

Of course, the patient needs to seek treatment from oncologists, because the coronavirus causes mortality up to 1% of cases, and the mortality rate with neglected cancer treatment is much higher. Naturally, the rules of social distancing, wearing masks, and hand hygiene are common to everyone at risk of infection and must be followed very closely at the start of any cancer treatment.

If a pandemic catches up with patients during treatment, then, of course, cancer treatment must be continued, because, again, the risk of an exacerbation of cancer outweighs the risk of developing coronavirus disease.

If a person has already been treated for cancer, then all the general rules must be followed, regardless of whether six months or five years have passed since the start of treatment. Resistance to COVID-19 in cancer patients or those who have already been treated may be lower than those who have never been an oncologist. But again, it all depends on the individual's ability to recover.

If cancer has been diagnosed in the past and is now in remission, then the immune system should gradually return to normal. For example, the European Society for Medical Oncology believes that the risk increases during the first three months after chemotherapy or other cancer treatments. Fatigue and fever can be not only symptoms of coronavirus, but also a complication of treatment. However, it is better to discuss this issue with an oncologist.

Psychologists say people with cancer have an advantage during these difficult times, as they have a history of dealing with intense emotional stress caused by uncertainty. Cancer patients have skills that make it easier to overcome anxiety. In addition, they are more responsible and aware of their health conditions.

Cancer treatment remains more important for patients than the hypothetical threat of contracting the new virus, although cancer patients are still at risk because the infection can be more serious in these patients than in healthy people. Therefore, it is extremely necessary to take immediate action in case of any complications or concerns.

In principle, no matter how difficult the situation with isolation is, cancer centers continue to operate and treat in compliance with all safety standards. The very tactics of treatment does not change. American Cancer Hospitals have already concluded that no type of treatment is the preferred option during the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, compliance with general epidemiological requirements remains important.

Recovery stories during the lockdown-2020

Benefits of cancer treatment in Germany during the lockdown

 

Since September 2020, the world has been shocked by the news that the situation has actually worsened. More and more countries are closing down and some of these areas are now considered very dangerous.

For example, isolation has been in place in India since June. The United Arab Emirates has been under isolation since September. In Hungary, more than 10 districts have been added to the red zone list since the end of September. In Denmark, the Hovedstaden region has been added to the list of red zones since 23 September. In the UK and Ireland, about 7 areas are considered particularly hazardous. Since June 3, the entire United States has been in isolation, with more than 8 million people infected.

Many countries have closed their borders during the coronavirus pandemic due to the strong spread of the disease. Some hospitals at the national level even refuse to treat cancer patients, explaining this by the priority of treating patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

We all clearly understand that other diseases, in particular, cancer, need to be urgently treated. But what if the hospitals in your country ignore this need, refuse to treat, and your region is in the red zone?

You still have access to treatment in Germany with the most qualified doctors, the latest equipment and modern methods of cancer treatment. All you need is to apply for a medical visa.

The benefits of cancer treatment in Germany have been carefully analyzed by Booking Health based on years of experience in organizing cancer treatment.

This is why treatment in Germany may be an option for you:

  • Possibility of emergency appointments with leading oncologists in Germany
  • Oncological care in specialized oncological hospitals
  • Prompt start of treatment after confirmation of the diagnosis
  • Accurate pathological diagnostics in certified medical institutions
  • Adequate (if possible, sparing) therapy, taking into account the age and psychological characteristics of the patient, corresponding to the stage and aggressiveness of the disease.
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration of oncologists, surgeons, radiologists, chemotherapists, radiation therapy specialists, psycho-oncologists.
  • Strict adherence to international treatment protocols after therapy optimization studies
  • Unique programs to prevent severe side effects of treatment, including the use of gene therapy protocols
  • Regimens for the prevention and treatment of recurrent disease
  • Personalized treatment plan for cancer patients
  • High survival rate, inclusion in innovative clinical trials.

 

Case report

Patient Alla, Russia.

Hello! I contacted Booking Health because I was diagnosed with a tumor in my chest. From the very beginning, we had a very warm relationship with the company.

Consultant Svetlana Sholts presented in detail the medical program, told about the hospital and the doctor who will treat me. She was very helpful during our conversation. It was evident that she was imbued with my problem and reacted with understanding to my questions and requests. I am also very grateful to Oksana Stark. She helped me organize my trip to Germany, despite the fact that I did not have a visa, as visa centers in Russia were closed due to the pandemic. Since I was traveling alone, I was very worried, but thanks to Oksana's round-the-clock support, I really felt that I was in good hands and that they would take care of me in Germany. There were moments when Oksana with all her heart wanted to help me even in those issues that did not concern her work, which moved me to tears. Thank you!!!

Many thanks to the driver Mark, who was waiting for me near the airport, despite the fact that I had to get a visa for several hours. I would like to thank my translator-coordinator Irina. She attended all doctor's appointments, supported me and solved all the issues that arose in the hospital. Thanks again to Booking Health!!!

After the operation, both Irina and Oksana were constantly in touch with me, interested in my health and everything, whether I like the hospital. Even after I was discharged from the hospital, when I returned to my homeland, they continued to keep in touch with me! We have developed a very friendly and warm relationship with the company, and I undoubtedly want to recommend it to everyone who really cares about the result and the high quality of service.

Thanks again to Booking Health !!!

How to undergo treatment in Germany

 

Citizens of the EU and Schengen countries can travel freely to Germany. The rest of the citizens can only travel for serious reasons. If you are not an EU citizen, you can still enter Germany for emergency medical treatment.

A "medical emergency" includes the following:

  • Treatment can only be carried out in Germany and not in the patient's country of residence.
  • Treatment in Germany has already begun and should be continued there.
  • Refusal of treatment is life-threatening or causes significant long-term damage to human health.

The listed reasons must be supported by appropriate documentation.

Isolation is mandatory for people traveling from countries classified as risk areas by the German Robert Koch Institute. Anyone who has arrived in such a country 14 days before entering Germany must be quarantined for two weeks. The list of such countries is constantly updated.

Therefore, if you are planning a trip to Germany, before leaving, you need to find out if the country you are in is on this list. This also applies to people returning from a trip. Specific isolation rules have been developed by the federal states of Germany.

Isolation can be avoided by those who have a negative coronavirus test result or a medical certificate. In both cases, results must be received no earlier than 48 hours prior to arrival.

All confirmations about the urgency of your arrival in Germany are issued by a German hospital and a doctor based on the analysis of your medical documentation (translations of medical records, analyzes, imaging studies). If, after arriving for treatment, the seriousness of your diagnosis is not confirmed, your case will be re-qualified as outpatient, which will affect the duration and treatment plan.

Each hospital that issues an invitation for treatment or confirmation of the need for treatment, helps to obtain a medical visa, determines the safety requirements (7- or 14-day self-isolation or no need for self-isolation by presenting an up-to-date certificate from the motherland about a negative test result for COVID-19, as well as certificate from the test taken at the airport of arrival in Germany).

If you do not have a valid medical visa, then after paying for the treatment you will receive an invitation with which you apply to the German consular authorities to issue you an entry medical visa.

Before traveling to Germany:

  • The admission clinic confirms the medical necessity and the possibility of treatment.
  • A negative COVID-19 test result is required for a patient and one accompanying person arriving from risk areas without COVID-19 symptoms to enter Germany. The test result must be dated no earlier than 48 hours before entering Germany and must be presented to the medical institution at the time of the first appointment.

To obtain a medical visa, a person must prove the seriousness of the health condition, including cancer. All embassies accept documents and issue medical visas, indicating that this is an urgent treatment. This requires confirmation of the local doctor's health status.

The processing time of the application is individual for each case. If the country's embassy is closed, Booking Health helps resolve the issue through the federal police.

To obtain a medical visa, you will need an invitation from the clinic, which states that the clinic is expecting a patient and that this is an urgent treatment, the date of admission and duration of stay, confirmation of payment for the treatment, and a letter from the attending physician. Booking Health can arrange all of the above.

If the medical visa needs to be renewed in order to continue treatment, it can be renewed locally and Booking Health can issue this as well.

 

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How the Booking Health can help

 

It is not easy to organize your own treatment in Germany. This requires some knowledge and experience. Thus, it is safer, easier and less stressful to shift some of the responsibility to the medical tourism agency.

Booking Health, the largest and most transparent medical tourism agency in the world, has up-to-date information on cancer care during quarantine.

If you want to undergo treatment in Germany, Booking Health will provide the following services:

  • Communication with the chosen hospital
  • Up-to-date information on the total cost of cancer treatment
  • Translation of medical documents
  • Assistance in obtaining a medical visa for the patient and the accompanying person
  • Resolving issues with obtaining a medical visa if the embassy is closed or your request for a medical visa is rejected
  • Flight and accommodation booking
  • Translation services

Booking Health takes care of all the questions. You can get rid of unnecessary stress, and Booking Health takes care of all organizational aspects.

All you need to do is leave a request on the Booking Health website, and our manager will contact you shortly.

 

Choose treatment abroad and you will get the best results surely!


Authors: Dr. Nadezhda IvanisovaAlexandra Solovey

 

Source:

American Cancer Society

National Cancer Institute

Cancer.Net

 

Read:

Why Booking Health - questions and answers 

How to make right decision when choosing the clinic and specialist

7 reasons to trust to the rating of clinics on the Booking Health portal

Booking Health quality standards

Send a request for treatment

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