Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
> Information for Screening Program clients is available here.
> Information for physicians is available here.
Information for Patients
Keeping Patients Safe
COVID-19 can affect cancer patients more severely than the general population. Keeping patients safe is our priority. The Saskatchewan Cancer Agency will phone cancer patients before upcoming appointments to ask you about your health, discuss your concerns, and walk you through what you can expect at your appointment.
> More information for patients is available on our FAQs for Cancer Patients page.
Testing for COVID-19
The Saskatchewan Cancer Agency is currently working on guidelines for testing cancer patients on treatment who are not experiencing symptoms (asymptomatic) of COVID-19, as an added precautionary measure. Currently, a phased approach for testing will take place based on recommendations from healthcare teams for patients as follows:
- Patients on treatment from areas of concern.
- Patients on treatment with lung cancer.
A more detailed plan for testing asymptomatic (not experiencing symtpoms) cancer patients receiving treatment will be developed in the near future.
If you are an asymptomatic (not experiencing symtpoms) cancer patient who is not receiving treatment, you are eligible for testing and can call 811 to have this test performed.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call the cancer centre to speak with a member of your healthcare team:
Allan Blair Cancer Centre: 306-766-2213
Saskatoon Cancer Centre: 306-655-2662
(phone lines monitored Monday to Friday, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm)
When you come to the cancer centre for your appointment, you will be screened for symptoms (respiratory symptoms, travel history, fever). Patients with a positive screen will then be further assessed by cancer centre staff. You will be provided with a surgical mask and asked to wear it for the duration of their time in the cancer centre. Support people who are permitted to attend patient appointments will also be provided with a mask that they will be required to wear. Staff will also be masked.
Services by our volunteers have been suspended in order to protect patients and volunteers. Please bring adequate snacks and beverages to your cancer centre appointment, as the nutrition carts may not be available.
Phlebotomy Service Reduced
Part of the measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to our patients and staff is limiting the number of people in the cancer centres. The Saskatoon Cancer Centre is reducing phlebotomy services and redirecting patients to community labs for blood work requirements. In special circumstances, such as for immuno-compromised transplant patients, the blood draw will be completed at the cancer centre in an exam room.
Patients with PICCs and ports, with the exception of highly immuno-compromised transplant patients, will be redirected to community labs for peripheral blood draws.
By sharing the need for blood draws with our community partners, the Cancer Agency is not only creating as safe an environment as possible but are conserving the specialized Cancer Agency staff for care only they can provide.
Chemo Cards for Patients
Fever is a common symptom of COVID-19. Fever is also a common symptom in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. This type of fever requires urgent medical attention and early treatment intervention. To facilitate urgent patient assessment in hospital emergency rooms, the Cancer Agency is issuing chemo cards to all cancer patients to ensure they are easily and immediately identified. This card also signals the need for these patients to be isolated, when possible, to mitigate the risk of infection from viruses such as COVID-19.
Patient Supports/Visitor Restrictions
Immuno-compromised patients are at higher risk for illnesses, especially COVID-19.
In order to continue protecting all vulnerable patients and limit the risk of exposure for patients and staff, patients attending follow-up appointments or receiving treatment within the cancer centre will be required to attend by themselves. As such, support persons are still not be permitted to attend regular clinic appointments or treatments. Everyone visiting the cancer centre for a patient appointment will be provided with a surgical mask that they must wear for the duration of their visit.
Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be very emotional and some patients may feel overwhelmed. New patients who are visiting the cancer centre for a first visit/initial consultation or are receiving their first cancer treatment may bring one adult support person to accompany them.
Patients who require a support person to accompany them to subsequent appointments due to medical or legal requirements will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. There are also exceptions for patients in unique circumstances, including new patients, pediatric patients, patients with cognitive/developmental impairment, patients with substitute decision makers, and patients who require translators including deaf or hearing impaired. Please contact your care team to discuss.
We ask that support persons not come to the cancer centre:
- If they have any respiratory or gastric symptoms such as common cold symptoms or diarrhea/vomiting.
- If they have travelled outside of the province within the last 14 days or have flu-like symptoms.
We are also:
- Placing all community gatherings within Saskatchewan Cancer Agency operated facilities on hold until further notice.
- Suspending services provided by our dedicated volunteers in order to protect our patients and volunteers. Patients should bring adequate snacks and beverages, as nutrition carts will be unavailable.
- Due to the visitor restrictions currently in place, the Cancer Agency is not accepting donations of supplies at any of our facilities. Although the offers are appreciated, we are aligning with the Saskatchewan Health Authority guidelines around donations at this time. More information is available on the Saskatchewan Health Authority website.
Protect yourself and others, and help stop the spread of harmful viruses:
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- No tissue? Cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water, or use a hand sanitizer.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Practice social distancing (e.g. no handshakes, hugs, kisses).
Hand washing is important to stop the spread of germs and avoid getting sick. Stay healthy. Wash your hands often and for at least 20 seconds.
Stay up to date:
Public health officials continue to reassess the national and provincial public health risk, based on the best available evidence as the situation evolves. New information, tools and resources about COVID-19 are available on the Government of Saskatchewan website, which is Saskatchewan’s source of information for healthcare providers and the public.