Social worker offers coronavirus advice for cancer patients

Updated: Mar. 31, 2020 at 9:26 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The constant news about the coronavirus can be overwhelming. Cancer patients might feel even more worried about the virus, because cancer and its treatment can lower their ability to fight infection.

Kim Williams is an oncology social worker at UofL Health James Graham Brown Cancer Center. She said before coronavirus, cancer patients were encouraged to join support groups, connect with friends and church families. Now, we have to practice social distancing.

We know now more than ever that technology is bringing people together. Williams said people battling cancer can take advantage of the positive things on social media, video calls or online support groups to stay connected.

She said cancer patients suffer from isolation already, out of fear of what their weakened immune systems may do if they are exposed to a germ they can’t fight off.

“Cancer patients do need to be extra cautious of that and definitely not go into crowds,” Williams said. “If you have someone to go to the grocery for you, they should be going to the grocery for you. You don’t need to be doing that.”

Williams said if you suffer from cancer and feel overwhelmed, contact a social worker at your cancer center.

Gilda’s Club of Kentuckiana also has a lot of information, resources, and support groups to help patients stay engaged.

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