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Coronavirus (COVID-19): What Breast Cancer Patients, Survivors, and Family Members Need to Know
Susan G. Komen Greater Atlanta takes the health and safety of breast cancer patients and our supporters, volunteers, and staff very seriously. As such, we are closely monitoring the news of the novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) and the current state of cases found across the U.S., following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local health authorities.
This is a fast developing situation, but we want you to be assured our top concern is to ensure we have the plans and resources in place to safeguard the health and well-being of our supporters, staff, and everyone who is a part of our Komen Atlanta family. As an organization dedicated to saving lives, nothing is more important.
With the COVID-19 situation evolving quickly, we believe we must act decisively. As such, out of an abundance of caution and to help stem the spread of this disease in our communities, the Komen Atlanta office is closed indefinitely. Staff is still working and available by phone and email to assist anyone with breast health or breast cancer needs, or to answer any questions related to events, fundraising, operations, or any other questions you have about the organization. Please click here to access the contact information for our staff while the office is closed. You can also read Komen Atlanta’s March 16th statement on our response to COVID-19.
We recognize that the facts about COVID-19 are still emerging, and that the uncertainty can be unsettling. We are committed to providing updates to you, your families, and our volunteers as new information is available.
What is COVID-19?
The new coronavirus was first detected in late 2019. This coronavirus has been named SARS-CoV-2. It causes the respiratory disease COVID-19 (which stands for coronavirus disease 2019).
So what are the symptoms of COVID-19, who is most at risk, and what should everyone do to protect themselves and others? (Answers to these questions have been compiled from the CDC website).
- Shortness of breath
These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure, however a person may be contagious before symptoms appear. Seek medical advice if you develop symptoms, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you live in or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.
If you develop any of the emergency warning signs below, get medical attention immediately.
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
Note: This list is not all inclusive. Please talk to your doctor for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
High Risk Populations
People who are older or who have health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes are at greater risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.
If you have breast cancer and are on chemotherapy or immunotherapy, or you have metastatic breast cancer, your immune system may be weakened. This means you have an increased risk of getting sick from COVID-19.
Things Everyone Should Do
- Clean your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact
- Stay at home as much as possible.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Put distance – at least 6 feet – between yourself and other people.
- Stay home if you’re sick, except to get medical care.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw that tissue in the trash and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
- Do NOT use a facemask meant for healthcare workers – visit your local hospital or clinic website for information on donating this critical medial supply.
- Use a cloth face cover whenever you go out in public – you must still social distance when wearing a mask!
- Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth when removing your face cover, and wash your hands immediately after removing.
- Cloth face covers should be washed after each use.
- The CDC website has DIY face cover patterns – one sewn, two no-sew.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces daily.
- See the CDC’s full list of Steps to Take to Protect Yourself
Support for Patients in Active Treatment and Survivors
If you or someone you know is struggling with care or treatment costs due to recent events, Komen Atlanta’s Breast Care Helpline is here for you. Call 1-877-465-6636, option 2, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, to receive assistance.
Stress, Fear and Concerns
This is a stressful time. To reduce stress, the CDC recommends:
- Taking breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories about coronavirus, including social media.
- Taking care of yourself. Try taking deep breaths, stretching or meditating. Try to eat healthy meals, get some exercise, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Making time to do things you enjoy, such as taking a walk, gardening, knitting, reading a book, or cooking.
- Talking with others about your concerns and how you’re feeling. Call, FaceTime, or Skype with family and friends.
This is a hard time for everyone. If you’re feeling scared or alone, or just need to talk, please reach out to Komen Atlanta by calling our Breast Care Helpline.
Susan G. Komen®’s Breast Care Helpline: 1-877-465-6636
Our Breast Care Helpline can provide information, social support and help with coping strategies related to anxiety or concerns during these uncertain times. Calls to the helpline are answered by a trained and caring staff member in English or Spanish, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET. You can also email the helpline at email@example.com.
The guidelines and information on COVID-19 are changing and evolving daily. To keep up to date on specific guidelines and the latest developments, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html and the Georgia Department of Public Health website.