Virginia Kaklamani, MD, DSc, during a morning press conference at #SABCS19.
Coping with breast cancer can be difficult even with the best support system. Include with that a global pandemic and an overwhelming diagnosis can seem insurmountable.
But the doctors and staff at the UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center have been working nonstop to protect their patients, maintain treatments, and provide vital support during an incredibly difficult time.
“For our patients, we’re actually doing exactly what we need to be doing,” said San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium Co-Director Virginia Kaklamani, MD, DSc. “We’re doing a lot of video calls and a lot of telephone calls, but I don’t think it’s affected us treating our patients.”
Dr. Kaklamani said it’s having the greatest effect on patients having routine procedures like mammograms, or patients not diagnosed with breast cancer who have had to delay screenings. Patients who have been diagnosed with breast cancer have been advised to stay away from crowds, wear masks, and make sure those around them wear masks.
“Their immune system is compromised, at least for many of them, and they need to be extra careful,” Dr. Kaklamani said.
The Cancer Center is working with the COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium, a group of cancer centers around the country, to share best practices to understand the implications of having cancer during the period of coronavirus.
“We were able to get prepared pretty quickly and we were able to continue communicating with them, without compromising patient care,” Dr. Kaklamani said. “We don’t have any known cases from our patients or from any of our staff. So that’s been encouraging for the Cancer Center.”