Clinical opinions / 31 Mar, 2020

Radiation therapy for cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic

Icon Writers

Facebook Live with Dr Ian Irving and Dr Minjae Lah

Icon Radiation Oncologist Dr Minjae Lah recently appeared live on the Icon Cancer Centre Facebook page, where she answered questions from cancer patients, survivors, families and caregivers about COVID-19 and radiation therapy. Dr Lah was joined by Icon Group Medical Director Dr Ian Irving.

Throughout the video, Dr Lah answered a variety of questions from our patients, including:

  • 2.18 – Will I be able to continue my radiation therapy treatment if we go into lockdown? Will Icon centres remain open during a lockdown?
  • 3.46 – Will patients still be able to access palliative radiation therapy during this time?
  • 5.06 – How can patients, particularly cancer patients and those over 70 who are being strongly advised to practice social isolation, speak to their specialist or radiation oncologist at the moment?
  • 6.02 Are all Icon radiation oncologists offering telehealth and how is it done in practice?
  • 8.50 – Should people be splitting their radiation therapy and having a hiatus of a couple of weeks before finishing, or is that not advised?
  • 12.10 – What happens if someone is having radiation therapy treatment and they contract COVID-19? Would that mean they have to stop treatment?
  • 13.19 – I’ve had radiation therapy in the past. Could my immune system still be compromised and put me at a higher risk of COVID-19?
  • 15.22 – What about patients who receive radiation therapy treatment to the lungs? Are they at an increased risk from COVID-19?
  • 16.46 – I’m concerned about COVID-19 and putting myself at risk every time I have to travel from home to the centre. How can I minimise my risk of COVID-19 while attending my appointments?
  • 18.47 – What has Icon done to reduce the risk of patients catching COVID-19?
  • 20.06 – Can patients contract COVID-19 from an asymptomatic carrier (someone who doesn’t show symptoms)?
  • 22.29 – I’ve had treatment for lymphoma which involved immunochemotherapy as well as radiation therapy, and I’m concerned whether my immune system will have the ability to fight off COVID-19. Should I be self-isolating?
  • 25.26 – I’m 74 and have had breast cancer and a few other medical problems including heart disease. Given my age, would I be suitable for radiation therapy during this time of COVID-19?
  • 27.45 – Can I get a tattoo while I’m going through radiation therapy?


For more information on COVID-19 and Icon’s commitment to your safety, click here.

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