Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease, and therefore has direct relevance to sufferers of mesothelioma (asbestos cancer) and other asbestos related diseases.
With this in mind, we have found the recommendations released by the USA’s foremost mesothelioma support organisation, Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation [who have consulted with medical experts on their Board of Directors], to be very succinct and informative.
Whilst their recommendations have been put together specifically in relation to sufferers of mesothelioma (asbestos cancer) and their families in the USA, we feel they are sound advice for all sufferers of any form of asbestos related disease, and their carers and immediate family members – wherever they may be in the world.
Note: It is always advisable if you have specific questions regarding how COVID-19 may affect you regarding your individual disease diagnosis and health circumstances, please consult directly with your local General Practitioner (GP) doctor, or your treating specialist.
The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation [MARF] recommendations (copied here unchanged, and thus contain some uniquely USA references) are:
- Consider delaying routine follow up scans and visits, especially if you are not on active treatment and are clinically stable without any new symptoms; ask your doctor if tele visits are an option.
- Avoid all unnecessary contacts with the healthcare system.
- Avoid air travel and airports. Car trips should be OK, but follow CDC precautions regarding hand washing and close contact.
- Avoid large crowds and gatherings. Consider remote activities as much as possible.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Hand washing and use of hand sanitizers are key. Also remember to clean your smartphones and other devices that are frequently touched.
- If you develop new symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath), please consult with your local physician and consider testing; home pulse oximetry may be a good way to measure oxygen saturation.
- Many hospitals, including those represented by us (Mayo and MSK) are taking precautions to separate acutely ill patients from those receiving ongoing treatment.
- Try to receive treatments locally, if possible, with least amount of travel.
- If you are in a study, please talk to the study team. Non-treatment study visits may not be needed or can be done by phone or video visit.
- Please remember there are still a lot of other viruses, specifically influenza, out there. Consider getting the influenza vaccine if you haven’t yet. Co-infection with multiple viruses is common. – MARF [curemeso.org]
For more specific Australian information and updates about Coronavirus (COVID-19), please consult the Australian Government’s health website directly by clicking [here]. For specific New Zealand Government information and updates click [here].
Should sufferers [and their carers and immediate family members] of asbestos related disease in Australia or New Zealand be seeking current evidence-based clinical information and support, we suggest they contact Ms Jocelyn McLean RN, the Support Co-ordinator at the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute [website: adri.org.au]. Jocelyn can be contacted by phone: +61 2 9767 9854 or via email: email@example.com
If you are in the USA and you have any questions about managing your mesothelioma diagnosis relating to COVID-19 or in general, please contact the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation [website: curemeso.org] by phone: (877) 363-6376 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Supportive Care Options
Supportive Care Options is about maintaining or improving quality of life for sufferers of asbestos or dust related disease, at the same time allowing their loved ones to also have a quality of life during all stages of the disease. It is about working out what support and care options are available, and then putting in place strategies to help sufferers and their loved ones navigate the journey ahead in the best possible way.
Supportive Care Options should be discussed as soon as possible after diagnosis with your treating physician, hospital social worker or other care providers. You should also talk immediately with a specialist asbestos dust litigator regarding possible compensation.