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Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Releases Guidance for Managing Hematologic Malignancies During COVID-19 Crisis

Kristi Rosa
Published: Monday, May 18, 2020

Mary-Beth Percival, MD

Mary-Beth Percival, MD

The COVID-19 pandemic presents unique challenges for optimal management of patients with hematologic malignancies, according to Mary-Beth Percival, MD. To this end, faculty from Seattle Cancer Care Alliance have come together to generate guidelines geared toward balancing the risk of underlying malignancy with those of the virus infection and mortality.

“We’re treating these patients with curative intent chemotherapy. The chemotherapy can be very toxic to the normal immune system—that's a given, even in non-pandemic times,” said Percival. “As such, when patients are being treated with these really toxic therapies during a pandemic, it raises many questions regarding the best ways to manage patients and to decrease their risk of exposure to the virus. Also, other complications that may land them in the hospital through no fault of their own.”

In January 2020, the first documented patient in the United States who was infected with the virus was diagnosed in Washington State. Since then, cancer care has completely changed. At the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, oncologists specializing in hematologic malignancies have channeled their efforts into adjusting clinical practices to mitigate COVID-related risks.

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