Thursday, May 19, 2022

Pandemic impacts cancer care

Pandemic impacts cancer care

Tell your story: Cancer Council Victoria, which stages Daffodil Day every August, wants to hear how COVID-19 has impacted the lives of people with cancer and their families. Photo by Rodney Braithwaite

While Victorians across the state return to COVID-normal, many people affected by cancer continue to live life in lockdown, experiencing unique challenges including isolation and anxiety.

Cancer Council Victoria’s cancer nurses have been a key support throughout the pandemic, receiving and responding to more than 20,000 calls and emails from people affected by cancer during the pandemic.

To understand the impact of COVID-19 on cancer and the Victorian community, Cancer Council Victoria is calling for individuals affected by cancer during the past two years to share their stories.

In a first-of-its-kind research project by the organisation, Cancer Council Victoria is looking for people diagnosed with cancer, their carers, family and friends, aged 18 and over to share their experience of cancer during COVID-19.

The research will explore the impact of COVID-19 on cancer care including the emotional impact, treatment changes, the cost of cancer and hospital visitor restrictions, and will shape Cancer Council Victoria’s cancer support programs in the future.

Amanda Piper, head of Cancer Strategy at Cancer Council Victoria, said COVID-19 continued to have a strong impact on how those affected by cancer lived their everyday lives.

“Through our conversations with people with cancer and their families, we know that many have experienced unique challenges throughout the past two years,” she said.

“People with cancer often have a lowered immune system and can be more vulnerable to infection. For these people, getting COVID-19 can pose an increased health risk.

“Cancer is hard, and COVID-19 made it even harder. It has been, and continues to be, an incredibly challenging time for many people.”

Cancer Council Victoria believes the survey findings will play an important role in planning for the future.

“What we don’t yet fully understand is the ongoing effects of changes made during the pandemic,” Ms Piper said.

“The pandemic forced many changes in healthcare that affected cancer care — some changes were for the better, others weren’t.

“This project is set to help shape the future of our support offerings and the way we look at cancer care more broadly.”

Cancer Council Victoria’s ‘Cancer, COVID-19 and You’ survey is now live.

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, or are a carer, family member or friend of someone who has the disease, please head to www.cancervic.org.au/covidsurvey to share your cancer experience during COVID-19 and help all Victorians benefit from improvements in cancer care in the future.

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