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With information from trusted sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cancer.gov, and our very own Medical Scientific Advisory Committee, the Alliance is making timely, informed decisions about events, patient support, and Alliance programs.

Continue to monitor this page and the Alliance Facebook page for up-to-date information.

We encourage you to call our Helpline for ongoing support or with additional questions. Our certified navigators are available to help answer questions and speak with you about any concerns or fears.

Alliance Helpline: (877) 422-2030

Join the COVID-19 Daily Chat, Monday-Friday | 2 - 3pm ET

Status: Alliance Office & Upcoming Events


LAST UPDATE: 03/31/2020 12:30pm ET

 

OFFICE STATUS: All staff teleworking 3/13/20 through 4/10/20. All travel prohibited.

 

STATUS: Events & deadlines impacted by COVID-19

Event / Deadline Date Current Status Alliance Activity
Chris4Life
Grants Program
New Deadline:
April 15
Deadline Extended Deadline Extended
Inside Anne's Closet May 18 Active Monitoring Reviewing Options

Alliance events are essential to our life-saving mission to screen, care, and cure colorectal cancer. COVID-19 does not change the needs of our allies and communities.

The Alliance is monitoring the situation closely and will communicate any changes in a timely manner. In the meantime, we still need you -- our allies need you. Stick with us and please continue to activate your teams and fundraise! Every dollar you and your teams raise allows us to provide more screenings, more patient support, and fund more research. And during this time of uncertainty and rapidly changing information, our patients are experiencing anxiety and fear that goes beyond the normal stress of dealing with a global pandemic. Now more than ever, the Alliance needs the resources to serve our allies and remain laser-focused on our mission.

COVID-19

Message for the Patient Community

Written in collaboration with Dr. Christopher Lieu, Director of the Colorectal Medical Oncology Program at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Alliance Medical Scientific Advisory Committee member.

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance is closely monitoring COVID-19. Our priority is the well-being of our caregivers, volunteers, donors, employees, partners, and the patients we serve – especially those with compromised immune systems.

Below are some answers to commonly asked questions. Call our Helpline for ongoing support or with additional questions. Our certified navigators are available to talk you through any concerns or fears.

Alliance Helpline: (877) 422-2030

Join the COVID-19 Daily Chat, Monday-Friday | 2 - 3pm ET

 

What are the risks associated with COVID-19?

COVID-19 can result in severe disease, including hospitalization, intensive care unit admission, and death, especially among older adults and people with additional underlying medical conditions (see additional risk factors below). Everyone should take critical actions, such as social distancing, to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect vulnerable individuals from these risks.

What impact does COVID-19 have on people with cancer?

People with cancer often have compromised immune systems (often referred to as being immunocompromised). This usually happens due to cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery. It’s harder for the body to fight off diseases when the immune system is not strong enough, so it’s extremely important that people with cancer and their family members follow steps to protect themselves.

How do I know if I have a compromised immune system?

Cancer patients who receive radiation or chemotherapy have a weakened immune system (immunocompromised). This happens when radiation and chemotherapy treatments kill not only the cancer cells but also some of the immune system cells, especially white blood cells.

Patients who are immunocompromised are more vulnerable to viral and bacterial infections including infection by SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

After treatments end, the immune system can rebuild itself and fully regain a functional immune system. However, this process takes time. Some research suggests that it can take between 2 to 9 months. Patients are most vulnerable right after they receive their treatments.

Speak with your doctor if you have concerns about your risk for COVID-19 being higher as a result of current or past cancer treatment.

What are other risk factors?

Age seems to be a risk factor for severe illness due to COVID-19. Data from other countries suggest that people who are 60 years old or older are more likely to experience severe illness due to COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, eight out of the ten deaths (80%) in the US since March 16, 2020 occurred among people who are 65 years old or older.

Additional conditions that increase the risk of a severe illness due to COVID-19 include:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Lung disease (including lung cancer)
  • Asthma

In people who smoke, the recovery of the immune system is even slower.

Patients who had a bone marrow transplant or any other transplant and receive immunosuppressive medications are at extremely high risk for infections.

What symptoms should I watch for?

If you think you developed signs of COVID-19, call your doctor and seek immediate medical attention. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Shortness of breath / Difficulty breathing
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea (digestive problems may be an early sign)

What are some general practices I should follow to reduce my risk of getting COVID-19?

  • Talk to your doctor about the opportunity for virtual visits or rescheduling. 
  • The American Cancer Society is recommending that no one go to a health care facility for routine cancer screening at this time. If you're due for your colonoscopy or other follow-up appointment, discuss postponing with your medical team and call our Helpline to discuss other options with our certified navigators.
  • If you are currently on treatment, limit your exposure to people and avoid large gatherings.
  • Focus on improving your immune system through sleep and exercise.

How can I help protect myself and others from COVID-19, the flu, and other viruses?

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with soapy water or, at a minimum, alcohol-based sanitizer (which may be less effective than soap and water).
  • In public places, avoid touching common surfaces (doorknobs, elevator keys handrails, etc.) without protection or means to disinfect them first.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who shows cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your inner elbow shirtsleeve.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as desks, doorknobs, phones, and handrails.

Where can I turn for financial, employment, and insurance needs that have emerged as a result of the current environment?/p>

Luckily there is support for those currently needing help applying for health insurance, delaying household bills and loan payments, and more. The national opportunities are changing every day. Check out this page for more on new, crisis-related options that are being offered each day and the Alliance’s Support and Financial Services Guide for ongoing resources by state to meet your needs.

Where can I learn more?

Consult your doctor with any concerns about your treatment or overall health. Do not discontinue treatment or doctors’ visits without discussing with your healthcare providers. If you want more information on COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cancer.gov, or Cancer.net.

COVID-19

Coronavirus Interactive Map

This interactive dashboard provided by Johns Hopkins University contains a wealth of realtime information. To launch this tool in a new window/tab, click here. Their complete resource center can be found here.

WARNING: Hackers are using the coronavirus as a way to spread malware. The links in this section go to jhu.edu and the map below is the official Johns Hopkins map hosted on arcgis. Before clicking on links you might receive from other sources, check to make sure that you are being directed to jhu.edu.

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