Six cancer patients show us how to live with the current ‘anti Coronavirus’ measures that are in place and tell us why it is important to continue scientific research.
- Due to the fragility of their immune system caused by chemotherapy or radiotherapy, cancer patients are used to the measures implemented and are confident: “Together we will overcome it.”
- “In research, we give life to patients with Coronavirus, cancer and other diseases. This crisis has made all of society aware that research has to be a priority in our lives. Defeating the Coronavirus and diseases like the different types of cancer is urgent,” says Lola Manterola, a multiple myeloma patient and President of CRIS Cancer Foundation.
- “Research is key to fighting cancer, Covid-19 and any disease,” says Ana Redondo, a kidney cancer patient.
Coronavirus has completely altered our lives, triggered a national public health emergency and has forced citizens to isolate themselves at home to prevent further spread. The hashtag #Stayathome is trending. The Covid-19 virus has disrupted all our plans, changed our habits, and has forced us into taking a series of unprecedented new measures that cancer patients are already accustomed to because of their immune systems.
“Together we can defeat the Coronavirus and we have to jointly vindicate the importance of research to end this virus, cancer and other rare diseases,” agree six cancer patients who have decided to share with CRIS Cancer Foundation their experiences, advice and points of view during this new reality. There is no need to be alarmed but be very careful and follow some precautions to slow down the rate of infection and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed and then collapsing.
“Of course, I am afraid thinking that I can catch the virus since I am undergoing oral chemotherapy treatment. So, I think it is essential to take extreme precautions and isolate myself. I would advise leading a life as healthy as possible at home, with videos on TV, dancing or any exercise that we like, but not being sedentary. Now is not the time to stop research projects in laboratories. You cannot stop clinical trials, because the lives of many cancer patients depend on them. Now I feel that the entire population can empathise with how cancer patients feel, wishing for a cure/vaccine, to help us resume our normal lives.”
“In the hospital, where we generally receive exemplary treatment from doctors and nurses, there is obviously a bit of a disruption, but cancer patients must be patient in the hospital. We are all under pressure, but especially the nurses and doctors. They risk their lives and health for us, we must help them with our positive attitude and understanding, they cannot do more than what they are already doing. Without research there is no cure. Today with the isolation measures we gain time against the disease. We must apply this time to find an effective cure and a vaccine, but this cannot be achieved without research. Talking about cancer research in many cases can be the difference between life and death. We live thanks to drugs, and these drugs in many cases give us time, the time for them to discover or perfect others that give us more time, quality of life and healing.”
“We have already finished the treatment, but for now we follow the instructions provided by the Government. We maintain absolute isolation. To cancer patients, I tell them to take great care of themselves in order to also take care of others. This can be frustrating and it seems impossible, but you have to try to think of the good things, that no rain is eternal – it is for a season – and that everything will soon change and when that happens, nothing will be the same, everything will be better. They will feel stronger and they will live better. Thanks to the work of the researchers, my son can play today. Thanks to their efforts, we will get out of this.”
“We now only have oral treatment left, but we must not stop avoiding the risks to health. Doctors recommended that we follow the sanitary instructions and the truth is that we do not leave the house. We must be very cautious. It is very important to avoid contagion in immunosuppressed patients. Wearing a mask, gloves and not touching your face is essential. Hygiene is the most important thing always, but in these cases more research is and will always be key to curb any disease. Unfortunately, there are still many illnesses without a cure, and more appear every day. Cancer research cannot stop, because there are so many different types of this disease. We are seeing that every day, even many more children. If the government does not invest enough in supporting research, the population must do so.”
“We are currently now on oral treatment and are only going for check-ups. We are now using just a little more hygiene and care than normal so that it does not affect him and others. I think that cancer patients are the ones who need the least advice with practising isolation. They manage isolation and fear better than anyone. Without research there is no cure and without a cure there is no life. Because Coronavirus affects an entire society, it will be defeated. Cancer ends if we give our researchers the means to continue fighting this disease.”
“My treatment continues as normal. Although, since we have been in quarantine, I have restricted visits and hardly have any physical contact with my relatives. My doctor has recommended the same things as always, common sense in hygiene: hand washing and taking precautions if someone is having symptoms at home, as a cold or any other virus would affect me more. My message to other patients would be to remain calm, if you are responsible and cautious you do not have to worry. To face quarantine, it is best to do the compulsory tasks (work and study) and enjoy time with your family. We live in a world that’s always going at 100m/h! Now we have been forced to stop and enjoy what we do, whether spending time with yourself or with your family. With new technologies we do not have to worry, with a single click we can have our friends on the screen. The answer is clear, research for diseases: without research there is no cure and for diseases like cancer to end, we need to continue investing in research.”