Cancer

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has disrupted our lives in many ways, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the need for safe, timely, high-quality care for people with cancer.

OSF HealthCare is committed to making you feel safe and supported while in our care.

We recognize this is an emotional time in any circumstance, but especially so with the uncertainty in our world because of the COVID-19 outbreak. We are here to help.

If you have concerns or experience a high level of stress during this time, please talk to your provider to connect with available resources.

Frequently Asked Questions

We are providing answers to some frequently asked questions below. If you have additional questions, your provider will be best equipped to address your concerns and help you decide what is best for you.

  • How can I protect myself?

  • When you are fighting cancer, your immune system is weakened. Some people with cancer might have a higher risk of getting COVID-19 or experiencing a serious case. You should always take extra precautions to guard against exposure to germs of any kind.

    Many of these measures are similar to guidelines for protecting yourself against COVID-19. They include:

    • Wear a facemask that covers your nose and mouth in public.
    • Wash your hands often, and use hand sanitizer after touching surfaces.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth without washing your hands first.
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces often, especially high-traffic places such as door handles, phones, keyboards, tablets, toilets, counters and light switches.
    • Avoid handshakes and hugging.
    • Avoid crowds and smaller gatherings with family or friends who you don’t live with. 
    • Maintain physical distance of at least six feet from other people.
    • Stay at home to reduce your exposure to other people.
    • Avoid non-essential travel.
    • Get plenty of sleep, eat healthy, exercise and manage your stress.
  • What should I do if I get sick?

  • Call your doctor right away if any of these happen to you:

    • You have a fever higher than 100.4 degrees F.
    • You feel short of breath.
    • You develop a cough, loss of smell, chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headaches, sore throat, runny nose or congestion, new loss of taste, nausea/vomiting or diarrhea.
  • What if I care for or live with someone who has cancer?

  • If you provide care for or live with someone who has cancer, do your best to keep them from getting the virus. Wear a facemask, wash your hands and avoid physical contact. Cough or sneeze into a tissue and throw it away immediately. Clean common surfaces after each use. Try to use a separate bathroom. Follow additional guidelines for protecting yourself. If you become sick yourself, call your doctor to see what more you should do to protect your loved one.

  • Am I safe going to a clinic or hospital?

  • Yes. OSF HealthCare is taking extra steps to keep infected or potentially infected patients separate from those who may be at risk.

    On arrival to our cancer centers or any OSF HealthCare facility, all employees, patients and visitors are screened for travel, exposure, symptoms and previous testing. Everyone entering one of our facilities must wear a facemask. We encourage physical distancing and we are also taking extra steps to clean and disinfect surfaces more frequently. We provide "sanitation stations" at all entrances. These stations have tissues and hand sanitizer.

    We may ask some patients to wait in a separate room or to reschedule until they are feeling better if they have symptoms. We limit visitors to our hospitals and cancer centers, and are screening some greater-risk patients by phone prior to their visit.

  • Will you still care for me if I get sick?

  • Yes. Your care is our top priority. Although we may change some ways we care for you, we will never put your care or health at risk. Your provider may arrange for a video visit or telephone visit if it is appropriate.