Dr. Hurvitz on Reducing Potential Exposure to COVID-19

Partner | Cancer Centers | <b>UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center</b>

Sara A. Hurvitz, MD, associate professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) medical director of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Clinical Research Unit, co-director of the Santa Monica-UCLA Outpatient Oncology Practices, and director, Breast Cancer Clinical Trials Program, UCLA, discusses the steps that can be taken to reduce potential exposure to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Sara A. Hurvitz, MD, associate professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) medical director of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Clinical Research Unit, co-director of the Santa Monica-UCLA Outpatient Oncology Practices, and director, Breast Cancer Clinical Trials Program, UCLA, discusses the steps that can be taken to reduce potential exposure to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Patients who are on active immunosuppressive anticancer therapy or who have active metastatic breast cancer should avoid traveling or going into high-traffic areas, says Hurvitz. Moreover, patients should avoid shaking hands and kissing others.

Patients can continue going to church; however, they, too, should refrain from hugging and kissing others. Additional precautions include the use of hand sanitizers and frequent handwashing, says Hurvitz. As a respiratory virus, COVID-19 can be transmitted through particular droplets in a sneeze. As such, the use of masks could prevent potential exposure.

Patients who have already been on therapy for their cancer and are not currently on chemotherapy or other treatments that lower their white blood cell count, are not necessarily at a higher risk of developing a severe infection related to COVID-19 compared with other patients. While patients can take general precautions, it is important to talk to gauge a patient’s individual risk and what activities they should avoid based on age, comorbidities, and current medications, concludes Hurvitz.