The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada is closely monitoring the developments on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak and how it might impact Canadians affected by blood cancers.
Some people in treatment may be worried about the supply of therapeutic drugs (such as Imbruvica or Ibrutinib) produced in China. Its manufacturer Pharmacyclics is closely monitoring the situation and at this time, does not expect any impact on their product supply. As of now, no other manufacturers have stated that this outbreak will have an impact on supply. We are in close touch with manufacturers and will post an update if this changes.
At this time, we are also vigilantly following the instructions and guidelines issued by the Government of Canada and the World Health Organization on risks and prevention. Individuals are encouraged to follow the steps below to help reduce the impacts of COVID-19 in their community:
- Practice good hygiene. Take everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs. Wash your hands frequently, keep tissues and hand sanitizer handy, and routinely clean your home and office. And make sure to be extra diligent about cough and sneeze “etiquette.” Encourage those closest to you to also practice good hygiene to limit your exposure to germs. The Government of Canada has additional detailed steps on prevention HERE.
- Make sure you’re up-to-date on vaccines. Talk to your doctor about the vaccines you need, and also ask them if your loved ones should receive vaccines to help reduce your risk of contracting an illness. Immunizations are especially important because cancer treatments weaken the body’s immune system. It is recommended everyone six months of age or older get the flu vaccine each year. Note, cancer patients should only get the shot and not the nasal spray since the spray contains a live virus.
- If you develop symptoms, talk to your doctor. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, contact your healthcare provider about your symptoms and your travel or exposure to a COVID-19 patient. According to the Government of Canada, symptoms may appear as long as 14 days after exposure. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The Government of Canada has additional details on symptoms HERE.
- Talk to your doctor if you have travel plans. The Government of Canada recommends that travelers avoid nonessential travel to certain destinations, including China and Iran. If you have upcoming travel plans, especially outside of Canada, follow the instructions provided by The Government of Canada HERE.
Please note that The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada will continue to closely monitor the coronavirus disease outbreak to ensure we provide Canadians affected by blood cancers with accurate and up-to-date information.