What difference does having cancer make during coronavirus? 

Different people have different levels of risk when it comes to being really unwell if they catch coronavirus.  

That includes people who are more vulnerable, like being over a certain age or pregnant, and people who are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable because of a medical condition they have and/or treatment they may be having. 

Some people with cancer will have been in the clinically extremely vulnerable group. If that applies to you, you will have heard from your GP or consultant by now, and you will have probably been told to shield. 

Most people who have been shielding will have been told they can stop after 1 August. Check with your GP or care team if you have any questions about stopping shielding.

But I heard young people are at lower risk of coronavirus?  

This type of coronavirus is new. That means there is still a lot we don’t know about it. 

There is evidence to show that young people are less likely to be seriously ill if they catch coronavirus.  

But if you are a young person with cancer, you may be more at risk of becoming very unwell than other people your age.  

If that’s the case, you will have been contacted by your GP and told to be extra careful. That might have included telling you to shield.  

And even if someone isn’t feeling unwell from coronavirus, they can still pass it onto others who may then become seriously ill. Basically, everyone, including young people, should still follow all the guidelines.  

I’ve had cancer in the past/I’m in remission – how will coronavirus affect me? 

This depends on the type of cancer and the treatment you have had.  

Most people make a full recovery after cancer treatment and their immune system either recovers fully or is not affected.  

But if your GP or clinical team think you need to take extra precautions, you should have been contacted with advice on how to keep yourself safe. 

If you’re worried or have questions, you can contact your GP or clinical team. 

Will cancer patients be offered the flu jab this winter?

The government in England have announced that more people will be offered the flu vaccine this winter. This is to help protect vulnerable people and to reduce the strain on the NHS. 

The expanded list of people who will be offered a free flu vaccine will include:

  • people who were on the shielding list from coronavirus
  • All school year groups up to year 7
  • People with pre-existing conditions which make them more at risk, including in children under 2

This is on top of other groups like pregnant women and people aged 50 and over.

If you think you should be eligible for a free flu vaccine this winter because you’re a young person with cancer, chat with your GP or clinical team.

If you’re not offered a free flu vaccine, you can also choose to pay for it via your GP or local pharmacy.