How Does COVID-19 Impact Komen, People Touched by Breast Cancer?

Mar 13, 2020 | Care

Susan G. Komen 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 and Prevention (CDC) and local health authorities.    

This is a fast developing situation, but we want you to be assured that 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 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, we and our local Affiliates are working with local authorities and following available guidance as we explore all possible options to reschedule, cancel or convert spring events to virtual experiences. 

Our events provide an opportunity to come together as a community, share stories, laughter and tears. Yet we know they are more than that. They are an opportunity for people to make an impact on the lives of their neighbors and future generations. At the end of the day, it’s about what we make possible together.  

At this time, based on the CDC’s guidance for people who are at higher risk, we also recommend that people living with breast cancer or who have a compromised immune system not attend any large gathering and stay home as much as possible, though we recognize that decision is up to each individual.

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 China in late 2019. This coronavirus has been named SARS-CoV-2. It causes the respiratory disease COVID-19 (which stands for coronavirus disease 2019).

The new coronavirus has spread to many countries, including the U.S. Most cases of COVID-19 are mild. However, some cases are severe and can lead to death. People who are older or who have other health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease or diabetes, appear more at risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.

For the latest information on the coronavirus, visit The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Common symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

These symptoms tend to appear 2-14 days after exposure to coronavirus. However, a person may be contagious before symptoms appear.

If you have symptoms and have traveled to an affected country or have been in contact with someone who’s been diagnosed with COVID-19, call your doctor.

What can I do to protect myself and my family?

To avoid being exposed to coronavirus, the CDC recommends everyone:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after going to the bathroom, before eating, before touching your face, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Ask people who come to your home to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer when they arrive.

If I have breast cancer, is there anything else I should do?

Older people and people of all ages with severe underlying conditions – like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example – seem to be at higher risk for developing serious COVID-19 illness. 

Breast cancer patients are among those who are at high risk of serious illness because their immune systems are often weakened by cancer and its treatments – particularly chemotherapy. 

There are no additional precautions for people with cancer or their caregivers. If you don’t have symptoms, you don’t need a facemask. The CDC recommends facemasks only be used by people who have symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.