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COVID-19 Positive with Breast Cancer

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Published on August 26, 2020

What Happens to My Breast Cancer Treatment if I Test Positive For Coronavirus?

Can breast cancer patients who test positive for coronavirus still access in-person treatment? Patient Power host, Megan-Claire Chase sit down with Shonte Drakeford, patient advocate and a representative from the Tigerlily Foundation, and experts Dr. Shaveta Vinayak, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Dr. Catherine Park, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Dr. Freya Schnabel, NYU Lagone Health to discuss how they have dealt with COVID-19 positive breast cancer patients. Watch the full discussion.

This is Part 3 from our Breast Cancer Answers Now Live Program. Watch the other parts below:

This program is supported by an educational grant from Daiichi Sankyo. This organization has no editorial control. It is produced by Patient Power and Patient Power is solely responsible for program content.




NYU Langone's Perlmutter Cancer Center

Transcript | COVID-19 Positive with Breast Cancer

Megan-Claire Chase:
If a patient and their family all have COVID, should they wait until everyone in the family has tested negative before starting treatment? Or would the patient be okay if they're the only one in the family who has tested negative? What are your thoughts on that?

Dr. Schnabel:
We had particular guidelines that we had for our patients when we began doing non-emergency surgery again. So, we had tested all the faculty and staff, and then all of our patients underwent COVID testing within three to five days of their procedures as well. If a patient tested positive, our protocol was that we would put off their procedure for about two weeks, but did not require that they get tested again, as long as they were symptom-free at the end of the two weeks. That was the protocol we had back then, and we're still working with that protocol right now as far as not requiring a second negative test afterwards.

 Dr. Park:
Yeah, I'd say we have something similar here. We don't want to start radiation treatment in a COVID positive patient if we can avoid it because not only the possibility of spread but because we don't really know how radiation interacts with the virus and being sick and the inflammatory process. So, we do want people to be cleared. But that being said, sometimes there are urgent cases where someone has an oncologic emergency or urgency where we do have to bring someone in who is COVID positive and they need treatment. And we have protocols set up for that where we've gone through just step by step how we bring them in and keep everybody safe and have the right PPE in place and treat them safely on a certain machine sort of, and follow all the procedures for that. That's kind of how we're handling it, case by case here. 

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