Why Guidance for treating patients during COVID-19 is important:
Goal for Hematology Practice in Canada – protect vulnerable patients from potentially fatal infection, without jeopardizing cancer treatments.
- Median age of patients at diagnosis for many heme malignancies is 60+ years. Multiple comorbidities common.
- Many blood malignancies create an inherent immunodeficent, vulnerable state (chronic leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma) although risk is likely to vary based on degree of prior therapy (if any), if the patient is on active therapy or in the presence or absence of contributing comorbidities and advancing age
- Immunocompromised patients are at a high risk of infections (this is pronounced for CLL patients).
- The long-term impact of COVID-19 on patient outcomes is not fully understood.
- The timing and impact of multiple waves and delivery of a vaccine is not known.
- In the absence of effective and continued containment measures, COVID-19 outbreaks can lead to a patient load exceeding capacity of centres/system