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 Cancer is a progressive disease, and there is a risk of stage migration with each passing day and delaying treatment resulting in poorer outcomes. Hence, cancer patients must take medication if required during the lockdown period as well. India is reeling under coronavirus. It is a matter of public health concern. To slow the spread of coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has put the entire country under lockdown. The current coronavirus pandemic has caused much anxiety, especially to patients who are suspected or have been diagnosed to have cancer. It is natural for them to have a lot of questions and dilemmas about the best possible course of action.

The coronavirus situation is evolving with each passing day, and it is difficult to predict accurately as to when the virus will be totally under control. Life will be as used to be before. There are chances that it may go on for quite a bit of time. Also, it is a well-accepted fact that cancer patients may be more susceptible to infection and subsequent complications due to compromised immunity. On the other hand, cancer is a progressive disease, and there is a risk of stage migration with each passing day and delaying treatment resulting in poorer outcomes. Because of the uncertainty throughout lockdown, it may not be a good idea to delay the procedure.

This is what the cancer patients should do (Dr Sanket Shah, Surgical Oncologist in Mumbai)

  • It would be a prudent idea to have online/video consultation with an oncologist. The oncologist will assess the risks and benefits and will be able to guide you with the best possible treatment options in keeping with the current guidelines.
  • It would minimize your chances of getting infected while optimizing the treatment for the best outcomes. 
  • There is no restriction of movement of patients and healthcare workers in this lockdown.
  • The cancer centres have also geared up to the challenges facing them and are trying their best to prevent infection to patients and caregivers.
  • The centres are undertaking strict sanitization measures at regular intervals. The movements of both patients and healthcare workers are kept to a minimum. There is a severe restriction on visitors. Wearing the mask and PPE is mandatory as well for the hospital staff.
  • Enhanced screening protocol and testing are instituted before starting the treatment and during treatment as when deemed necessary. 

Impact of Tobacco Consumption on Oral Health

  • Gum infections- Smokeless tobacco can irritate your gums, causing gum (periodontal) disease.
  • Tooth Decay or Dental caries- Sugar is often added to enhance the flavour of smokeless tobacco, increasing the risk of tooth decay.
  • Oral submucous fibrosis- A chronic disease affecting any part of the oral cavity leading to stiffness of the oral mucosa, causing the reduced opening of the mouth and inability to eat.

Takeaway: During the nation’s battle against coronavirus, we need to ensure that the cancer patient receives the care and outcome that they deserve. 

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