Cancer and Coronavirus (COVID-19)
For adult patients only. For children and teens, refer to the IWK Health Centre Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders Immunocompromised Patients COVID Information Sheet.
The Nova Scotia Health Cancer Care Program understands that Nova Scotians having cancer treatment, cancer survivors and their families and friends may have questions about the outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19).
If you are undergoing cancer treatment, your immune system may not be as strong as it is normally. You may feel concerned about the risks associated with COVID-19 and how it may affect your cancer care plans.
Your Cancer Care Team is working very hard to keep you safe and follow recommendations from Public Health. We will contact you if your upcoming appointment can be rescheduled or changed to a phone or video appointment. This will reduce the need for you to go out into public.
If you are having any cancer related symptoms call your cancer care team.
What is COVID-19?
I live in New Brunswick, but travel to Nova Scotia for cancer care. What do I need to know?
Travel from New Brunswick to Nova Scotia for a medical appointment is considered essential travel. In this instance, the patient and one support person may travel to Nova Scotia for the medical appointment without having to self-isolate if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19.
Details regarding visitor restrictions are available here.
How can I protect myself?
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Ask someone else to run your errands for you so you do not have to go out in public; such as grocery and prescription pick up. You may also be able to have things delivered to your house.
- Always practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet (2 metres) away from anyone you do not live with.
- Wear a mask if you are in public areas where it is difficult to adhere to social distancing.
- Avoid contact with those who are sick or at the risk of being exposed to COVID-19.
- Be as healthy as you can. Get plenty of sleep, eat healthy, exercise and manage your stress
- Stop smoking.
- Tobacco-Free Nova Scotia offers personalized and non-judgmental support to help you quit and stay quit. Whether you are thinking about quitting or having some setbacks, trained counsellors can help you each step of the way. All services are free and confidential. You can find out all about the supports offered at Tobacco-Free N.S. on their website at https://tobaccofree.novascotia.ca/
I feel sick and am worried it might be COVID-19. What should I do?
I have been tested for COVID-19. What should I do now?
I have cancer, should I wear a mask?
Can I bring someone with me to my cancer care appointment?
How will the cancer system protect me during this time?
What should I expect to be different at my cancer care appointment?
- Some appointments may be by phone or video. This will reduce the need for you to go out into public.
- You will need to wear a non-medical mask at your appointment.
- You will see hospital and cancer care staff wearing masks.
- We are asking that you arrive at your scheduled appointment on time but not early.
- We will make sure that you are sitting at least 6 feet (2 metres) apart from other patients in the waiting areas.
- If you need American Sign Language or language service interpreters for your appointment, please call your cancer care team before your appointment.
Should I have the seasonal Flu vaccine this year?
Please take a moment to read the patient information sheet about the importance of having the flu shot this year and when to get it. Don’t hesitate to speak with your health care team and cancer care team about any questions you have.
Should I have the COVID-19 vaccination?
Cancer patients and their families may have questions about receiving their COVID-19 vaccination. Please see our COVID-19 Vaccination and Cancer FAQ for more information.
I have prescriptions that need to be filled. What do I need to know?
- Ask your health provider if they can faxed or phone your prescription directly to your preferred pharmacy.
- Plan ahead. Allow up to 48 hours for community pharmacies to fill your prescriptions. If you would like your medications to be blister packed, allow 72 hours notice.
- Ask your pharmacy if they have a delivery service. This will reduce unnecessary trips.
- Phone the pharmacy before you pick up your prescription to ensure it is ready.
I am struggling with worry and anxiety, what can I do, where can I get support?
- Staying informed by listening to trusted sources of news like the Nova Scotia Health Authority, Government of Nova Scotia and Health Canada.
- Limiting your time watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media, hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Taking care of your body: Taking slow deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
- Eating healthy, well-balanced meals, be physically active, get plenty of sleep
- Avoiding alcohol and drugs.
- Making time to relax by focusing on yourself and doing activities you enjoy.
- Connecting with others, talking with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
- Maintaining a sense of hope and keep things in perspective
- Halifax Regional Municipality: 902-240-8129
- Cape Breton: 902-567-8551
- Antigonish/Guysborough/Richmond and South Eastern Inverness: 902-863-2830 Ext 4707
- Yarmouth/Shelburne/Digby: 902-749-1523
- Lunenburg and Queens County: 902-527-5820 or email Chantal.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kings/Annapolis County: 902-690-3700
- For all other parts of the province call toll-free: 1-866-599-2267
- Nova Scotia Health Mental Health and Addictions http://www.nshealth.ca/mental-health-addictions
- Nova Scotia Health Mental Health and Addictions crisis phone line: 1-888-429-8167
- Kids Help Phone: Text CONNECT to 686868
- Nova Scotia Government list of resources https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/mental-health/
Find more information about coping with COVID-19 related stress and anxiety in the Learn More section on this page.
Is quitting or trying to quit smoking important for cancer patients during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Temporary suspension of the Colon Cancer Prevention Program
The Colon Cancer Prevention Program has resumed mailing home screening kits. For updated information on this program reintroduction please visit: Cancer Care Program service reintroductions
Temporary suspension of the Cervical Cancer Prevention Program (routine Pap test)