Statement for patients & their families - Covid-19

Statement for patients & their families - Covid-19

Thu 16 April

The below statement is sent from Professor Susan Short on behalf of the Neuro Oncology Team at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust for brain tumour patients and their families.

"We know that this is a challenging time for everyone during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and that it will be particularly worrying for our patients who are undergoing treatment at the moment. Many of you will have been informed that you are in a specially vulnerable group at high risk of significant complications from COVID-19. As neuro oncologists we are doing everything we can to ensure you get the treatment you need whilst minimising avoidable risks. For many patients this means that we are speaking to you on the telephone instead of meeting you face to face in the clinic. We know that this changes the way the consultations work so please let us know if you do not feel that we have answered all your questions or explained things in a useful way over the phone and we will try to resolve any remaining queries. 

You will also be aware that in some circumstances we are making changes to treatment that was planned to happen over the next few weeks. This is mainly relevant to those of you being treated with chemotherapy as this weakens the immune system, meaning that the risk of serious infection rises. We are particularly concerned about patients who are already very unwell due to their tumour or who have other medical problems that further add to this risk. When we think that the risks may outweigh the likely benefits we are considering whether it may be the right decision to  pause or discontinue chemotherapy. We are taking all these decisions on an individual basis and will always discuss our decisions with you so that you understand our advice and what it means for you. ‚ÄčThese decisions may change as the COVID-19 situation alters, which is of course happening very rapidly.

Radiotherapy does not affect the immune system so in general this treatment can go ahead as planned. However if treatment is not urgent, for example for those of you with benign or low-grade tumours we may suggest delaying treatment until the COVID-19 outbreak is under control. 

If you have had treatment more than 3 months ago you are unlikely to be at significantly increased risk in the current outbreak and should simply follow the guidance for members of the public.

In any circumstances where you are unsure of why a decision has been made for you or want to discuss anything further then you should always contact a member of your medical team."

Professor Susan Short, sent on behalf of the Neuro Oncology Team at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust
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