People with cancer are at higher risk of getting infected with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and developing more serious symptoms and complications.
Guidelines for people with cancer
If you have cancer, follow these steps to protect yourself:
- Always follow the health recommendations for everyone, such as handwashing, which is mandatory at the entrance to any cancer centre.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Avoid public places and gatherings.
- Avoid contact with people who have symptoms such as fever, cough or who have breathing problems.
- Continue your health or psychosocial follow-up during the pandemic. For more information, go to the page If you need a consultation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Ask your health care team about wearing a mask and wear appropriate personal protective equipment when you visit the cancer centre.
- Contact your health care team if you:
- have a fever of 38°C or higher;
- have symptoms of a respiratory viral infection such as coughing or difficulty breathing;
- have been in contact with a person with confirmed or suspected COVID-19.
Instructions for a hospital appointment
In order to avoid travel to the hospital that is considered non essential, follow-up meetings with your doctor will usually be by telephone or telehealth.
If you have to go to the hospital:
- 24 to 48 hours before your appointment, you will receive a telephone call to assess whether you have symptoms of COVID-19;
- If you notice a change in your health between the time of the call and your scheduled appointment, tell your health care team.
Presence of symptoms on the day of the appointment
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you must inform the health care staff immediately. Appropriate precautions will be taken in accordance with the recommended prevention rules.
Accompanying a patient to an appointment
For patients 18 years of age or older, the number of people who accompany them must be limited in order to keep staff and other patients safe. People are allowed to accompany the patient if their presence is required for medical reasons (for example, if assistance is needed due to cognitive impairment or for mobility or hygiene) or if their presence is authorized by your health care team. People are not allowed to accompany the patient into the treatment room.
Patients under 18 years of age may be accompanied provided the number of people accompanying them is reasonable. During treatment, a parent is allowed in the treatment room as needed.
It should be noted that no one under 18 or over 70 years of age should accompany a patient, unless an exception is made. If a person accompanying a patient has a cough or a flu-like symptom, they will not be allowed to enter the cancer ward. They will be escorted out of the centre immediately.
Side effects of your treatment
It is very important to inform your health care team if you experience any side effects after a treatment. Most importantly, do not hesitate to consult if you ever have unusual symptoms. It is vital to continue to take care of your physical and mental health during the pandemic. For more information on medical consultations, go to the page If you need a consultation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you have COVID-19
If you have contracted COVID-19, ask your health care team what happens next. Depending on your situation, your treatments may be changed or stopped until you have two negative test results.
Québec Breast Cancer Screening Program
The Québec Breast Cancer Screening Program was suspended at the beginning of the pandemic. However, examinations required following an abnormal mammogram were maintained and offered on a priority basis as determined by health care professionals. Beginning in June, activities are gradually being resumed. For more information, go to the Québec Breast Cancer Screening Program page.
Last update: June 23, 2020