By Theresa Goodwin
People who are currently afflicted with cancer, or have a history of cancer, are being advised to consult with their medical practitioners before taking any approved Covid-19 vaccine.
Two medical experts pointed out Wednesday evening that while vaccination is relatively safe, when it comes to cancer patients, there are a number of factors that will have to be taken into consideration.
Chief among those is the type of vaccine, the type of cancer a person has (had), if they are still being treated for cancer, and whether or not they have a strong immune system.
“It’s a tough question to answer generally, it’s best for the person who is undergoing the treatment to sit with their doctors and ask the relevant questions and conducting their own research,” Gynecologist Dr Raymond Mansoor advised during a state media interview.
Oncologist Dr Hanybal Yazigi agreed to some extent, and also spoke specifically about patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. He suggested that these individuals should stop treatment for about a week before taking a vaccine unless they have an underlining medical condition, determined by other doctors, that will prevent them from getting a Covid-19 jab.
The medical practitioners were speaking during a state media programme marking the observance of Cancer Awareness Month.
Meanwhile, another member of the medical field, Consultant Surgeon at Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre, Dr Serena St Luce, also looked at the matter of cancer-related treatment indicating that a woman suffering from breast cancer can successfully remove the affected tumor without losing her entire breast.
She said cancer treatment has evolved in such a way that medical practitioners are moving away from major surgeries.
“You can just remove the area where the lump is along with a margin of normal tissue so that you can get the entire lump out. You must also do a biopsy of the lymph nodes, which are like glands under the armpit, because this is the first place that breast cancer is thought to spread generally. You need to not only remove the lump, but you need to asses the lymph nodes because they are easily accessible and it gives us an idea of the staging,” Dr St Luce said.
She added that the staging involves the tumor size as well as the characteristics of the said tumor.