Cancer Patients about COVID-19

Frequently Asked Questions 

It is important for cancer patients and their families to know how to stay protected from COVID-19.

As a cancer patient, am I more likely to get sick from COVID-19?

It is possible that cancer patients are at a higher risk of more severe symptoms because of their lowered immune system due to medications and treatment.


How can I avoid getting sick with COVID-19?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer in the absence of soap and water.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette. Cover your mouth and nose with your arm when coughing and sneezing and immediately dispose of used tissues in the trash.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect high-touch areas such as toilets, bedside tables and door handles with diluted bleach or a regular household cleaner.
  • Practice social distancing – stay about 2 metres or 6 feet away from other people, if possible.
  • It is recommended that individuals over the age of 60 and those with underlying medical conditions (cancer), who are at increased risk for severe illness, avoid going out in public as much as possible.


Should I wear a mask?

Patients will be asked to wear a mask when in the Cancer Centre. Staff who work with patients and cannot maintain physical distance of 2 metres will also wear a mask.


Are appointments and treatments at the Cancer Centre continuing?

Cancer care services across the province will continue. If there is a change to your scheduled appointment, you will be notified.


Should I still go to my Cancer Centre appointment?

If you are feeling well, it is important to ensure your cancer care continues as scheduled.

If you are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms such as cough, or shortness of breath or are under a public health requirement to self-isolate, call the Cancer Centre to determine whether you should reschedule your appointment.

Contact Information

  • Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre, St. John’s: 709-777-6480 (press 1)
  • Cancer Centre, Gander: 709-246-5545
  • Cancer Centre, Grand Falls – Windsor 709-292-2112
  • Cancer Centre, Corner Brook 709-784-5476

Telephone lines are monitored Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.


What should I expect when I come to my appointment?

We are asking all patients questions related to COVID-19 before they come into the Cancer Centre. Please allow extra time before your appointment for screening and registration.


Can I still bring family/companions to my appointments?

For the protection of our cancer patients, we ask that you come to your appointment unaccompanied. A patient will be permitted a support person to accompany them only under the following circumstances – those accompanying children to appointments, individuals who require physical assistance, and those who have cognitive impairments and require a support person.

A Support Person will not be permitted to enter if:

  • they have a fever or symptoms of respiratory infection.
  • they have travelled outside of the province within the last 14 days.


What should I do if I can’t go to my pharmacy to get my prescriptions?

Many cancer medications require assessment by an oncologist before prescriptions are written to ensure they are safe and appropriate to continue taking.  If you are unwell and cannot get to a pharmacy to obtain your cancer medications, please contact the Cancer Centre pharmacy team or your oncologist and we will find options to help you get you your medications.

Cancer Care Pharmacy Team: 709-777-6480 (press 5, then press 1).


What should I do if I am unwell or have questions?

If you are experiencing symptoms of a medical emergency, please call 911 or proceed to your nearest emergency department. 

If you have questions regarding your cancer therapy, concerns surrounding COVID-19 or symptoms you are experiencing and whether you should go to an Emergency Room, you may call the Cancer Centre triage line to review your symptoms with a nurse.

Dr. H Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre709-777-6480 (press 2, then 1)

Telephone lines are monitored Monday to Friday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.


My oncologist has advised me to go to the Emergency Room if I have a fever while I am on chemotherapy or other systemic therapy, what should I do?

If your oncologist has advised you to go to the Emergency Room with fever, continue to do so.


Where can I get more information?

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