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Information for people with cancer about COVID-19

People with compromised immune systems or pre-existing medical conditions, including cancer, may be at increased risk of contracting coronavirus (COVID-19) and increased risk of more severe infection.

“Our knowledge about COVID-19 is changing rapidly. If you are receiving cancer treatment that suppresses your immune system and you develop a fever or respiratory symptoms, call your oncologist or a member of your treatment team, as you usually would if you develop a fever while on treatment. Be sure to follow their guidance on actions to take,” said Professor Dorothy Keefe, CEO, Cancer Australia and Medical Oncologist.


Everyone should practice good hygiene to protect against infection, including people who have had cancer

Good hygiene includes:

  • washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • using a tissue and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • avoiding close contact with others, such as touching
  • avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

People at increased risk of getting sick from COVID-19, such as people receiving treatment for cancer, and people living with metastatic cancer

As well as practising good hygiene:

  • ensure you have adequate prescription and over-the-counter medications
  • try to keep space between yourself and others
  • when you go out in public, avoid crowds, stay away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds, or using alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • avoid non-essential travel.

If there is a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.


For family, friends and carers of people at increased risk of getting sick from COVID-19

Follow advice for good hygiene to protect against infection, including:

  • washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using alcohol-based hand sanitiser for at least 20 seconds, or using alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • using a tissue and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • avoiding close contact with others, such as touching
  • avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Avoiding contact with people in the community who are unwell.

There is no vaccine for COVID-19 yet.  However, this year, it is important to have your influenza vaccination as early in the flu season as possible.


Useful COVID-19 information links

Current status on COVID-19 in Australia - Department of Health (Australia)
COVID-19 Consumer messaging kit –   HealthDirect’s answers to questions and symptom checker 
Advice for the public about COVID-19- World Health Organization


Coronavirus Health Information Line

Call this line if you are seeking information on novel coronavirus. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Phone: 1800 020 080

The Cancer Council Helpline


Cancer Council is a free, confidential telephone information and support service run by Cancer Councils in each state and territory. Call if you have a question about cancer, or if you're seeking emotional or practical support.

Phone: 13 11 20

Follow us on Twitter @CancerAustralia to get news and updates.