The risk of exposure to the virus is the same for any individual. If you or a loved one has been exposed to any individual with coronavirus, it is important to notify your physician. If a cancer patient is exposed to an individual with coronavirus, the most appropriate provider to notify would be your medical oncologist. If you are currently in treatment for cancer, the type of treatment you are receiving makes a difference. A subset of NET patients being treated with chemotherapy (including Afinitor) or PRRT (somatostatin receptor targeted therapy) that can lower your white blood cell count makes your body more vulnerable to infection. Patients in this category need to be the most vigilant. If you have a fever of 100.4 degrees or more, you should contact your doctor immediately, and most likely you will be asked to come in, wearing a mask, to have your blood cell count assessed. We provide personal protective equipment (masks and gloves) as you come into the medical building.
Somatostatin receptor inhibitor treatment with Sandostatin or Lanreotide does not influence your ability to fend off infection. Since many neuroendocrine patients are on these therapies, alone, patients need only follow the same precautions as the general population.
The relationship between a patient and his/her care team is essential to optimizing outcomes in cancer care, and telehealth has emerged as an extremely effective way to build and maintain these relationships. Our clinic offers virtual/video visits for new patients, those in treatment, and our survivors, in addition to several remote monitoring programs for patients receiving chemotherapy. This is regardless of your state of residence.
Since so many of our patients come from out of state, this crisis has given us an opportunity to build much stronger provider networks. During this crisis we have temporary licenses in multiple states allowing you to access NOLANETS physicians via telemedicine without having to travel. This is particularly important in the Southern Region where access to NET care is limited. Once you are established within our NOLANETS community, you remain an established patient even if your ongoing care must remain closer to home. For those treatments that are not available in your state, we are building creative ways to pull patients in for treatment and get them back home with local services providing outpatient care when required. For this to be successful in the long term, patients will need to find a provider they trust within their state of residence. We are putting together a list of providers from many states who have stepped up and are willing to take on more of the NET patients locally. We will support them with whatever is required to initiate a treatment and surveillance plan. If you are looking for a provider in your state who has agreed to partner with us on this crusade, please call our office at 504-464-8500 or my patient back line 504-291-7488. You can also follow us on Facebook where we give updates on how our clinic is navigating patients through this current pandemic. I want to assure every new or established patient that we are accessible via whatever virtual platform works to get you plugged into our clinic services and available for advice.
With the concerns about transmission of COVID-19, we aim to deliver the best cancer care while asking you to physically be at one of our facilities only when it is necessary: procedures/surgeries to diagnose or fight your cancer, radiation treatments, imaging studies or lab tests that will help plan or determine response to treatments. Video visits and virtual monitoring ensure that we stay on top of your care while minimizing your (and your support team’s) risk of exposure.
Here are a few precautions that the CDC (Center for Disease Control) everyone should take:
The link for the CDC guidelines is here:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus
Treatment of NET depends on several variables so advice about the timing of treatment is given on a case by case basis. Low grade neuroendocrine tumors are slow growing and fall into a category where active treatment can likely be delayed the 30-45 days recommended under the current COVID 19 guidelines. However, this should not keep you from having a treatment plan in place regardless of when the plan will be initiated. For patients with higher grade tumors or patients in whom we feel that the 30-45 day delay would negatively impact their outcome, a treatment plan will be initiated without delay. We continue to administer chemotherapy, perform cancer surgery, and deliver radiation treatments, along with supportive care. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, and we will do everything we can to ensure that you, your families, our teams, and our communities receive the best care and remain safe.
Please contact your clinical team – they can guide you to the appropriate level of care and answer any questions that you have. You also can try using our Anywhere Care virtual visits; these visits are a flat fee of $10 and include free prescription delivery from an Ochsner pharmacy within a 20-mile radius. Medicare has expanded telehealth benefits.