COVID-19 and ovarian cancer
Ovarian Cancer Australia is aware that the pandemic is creating additional challenges for those impacted by ovarian cancer. We want you to know that we are available to support you and your loved ones as you navigate the coronavirus situation.
We have collated some information below that may be useful. Please know our Support Team are also available to speak with you about any questions or concerns you may have. Our ovarian cancer nurses are available on 1300 660 334 (during business hours) or by email on email@example.com
Our private Facebook Support Group is another way you can connect and share with the ovarian cancer community.
COVID-19 and vaccination
We know that people with cancer are more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19 and are at an increased risk of severe infection. We understand that getting vaccinated against COVID-19 can be daunting, but the risks of not getting vaccinated can be far greater.
It is important you discuss this with your treating team. They are best placed to advise you on your personal situation re: vaccination including benefits, risks, eligibility and timing.
Susan kindly spoke with OCA about her experience of vaccination and COVID-19:
When will I get a COVID-19 vaccine?
The Victorian Government has reserved COVID-19 vaccine appointments for people with or recovering from cancer, who are aged 16 years and over to help you get vaccinated sooner. For any questions, please visit the Australian Government Cancer Australia website.
To learn about priority groups, you can use the COVID-19 vaccine eligibility checker.
Recommendation for a third primary dose of COVID-19 vaccine for severely immunocompromised
Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has recommended the use of a third primary dose of COVID-19 vaccine in individuals who are severely immunocompromised including any on active treatment. The third dose is intended to maximise the level of immune response to as close as possible to the general population.
ATAGI has now also recommended that adults who received a third-dose primary course due to being severely immunocompromised are now recommended to receive a booster (fourth) dose. Please discuss eligibility and timing with your treatment team and you can find further information on COVID-19 vaccines and cancer here.
Flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine
The flu vaccine should not be administered at the same time as giving a COVID-19 vaccine. It is recommended that you wait at least 14 days after you receive the COVID-19 vaccine to get the flu vaccine. The same applies if you have flu vaccine first, you should wait at least 14 days before being vaccinated against COVID-19.
For more information visit the Australian Government Department of Health website.
Getting vaccinated – speak to your treating team
It is important to read information about getting vaccinated including how to prepare and what to expect before you get vaccinated.
If you have concerns about your health and getting the COVID-19 vaccine, please speak to your treating team for further information.
If you have previously had an allergic reaction to a vaccine it is important that you speak to your doctor before receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
Coping with anxiety around possible infection from COVID-19:
It's normal to feel concerned and anxious because of the high number of COVID cases especially if have or previously had ovarian cancer or are a loved one of a person with ovarian cancer. Our trained counsellor, Hayley, offers some ways to cope during this time that you may find helpful:
- We know that those impacted by ovarian cancer have been worried about what a COVID infection might mean for them and impacts on their treatment.
- Our Support Team strongly suggest that those with an ovarian cancer diagnosis chat with their specialist and treatment team about what exposure to or infection from COVID-19 might mean for them. Sometimes speaking about possible scenarios ahead of time and having a plan can help reduce anxiety and help people feel more prepared. This conversation could include what steps you can take to keep yourself safe, any actions that should be taken if you contract COVID-19 including who you should contact and discuss the next steps with, and communication of this plan with family and friends.
- It is also important where possible to continue those regular activities or strategies you use for your general wellbeing, including accessing supportive counselling and psychology support where necessary. For some meditation or relaxation exercises can also be useful.
- Some people may need to physically isolate themselves from loved ones at times so it can be helpful to plan other way to connect such as text, video chat or virtual meals or games.
- Keeping up to date with news and current affairs is important to many people, but it can become overwhelming. Make sure you are able to take breaks and disconnect where helpful.
What to do if you get infected with COVID-19:
It is important that you consult with your treatment team about the most appropriate management for your situation, as it can vary.
Please advise them as soon as possible of your positive test to COVID-19, as some treatments available for certain immunocompromised people work best when given earlier in the infection.
Cancer Australia has provided a really helpful outline of how best to manage your COVID-19 infection and cancer.
Other helpful tips and resources you may find beneficial:
- Cancer Council have developed a factsheet on what to do if you have cancer and test positive for COVID-19.
- There are treatments available for eligible, at-risk patients if they contract COVID-19. It is important to discuss these treatments and eligibility with your doctor as soon as you find out you have COVID-19. Some more information on available treatments can be found here.
- Cancer Australia have compiled answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that you may find helpful.
- Cancer Council have also developed a factsheet with important, trusted information to help answer your questions and concerns about cancer and COVID-19.
- OCA have collaborated with a range of cancer organisations to develop a Patient-Carer Info Sheet which includes important information about COVID-19 based on clinical advice to contain, delay and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Many people will now have experienced some appointments via Telehealth due to the pandemic. The Cancer Council have created a helpful resource with some tips on telehealth to ensure you get the most out of your appointments.
National coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccine helpline
If you need information about COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines or help with the COVIDSafe app, call 1800 020 080 or submit an enquiry through their website. Their number operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is important to follow the Government directives in your state.
You may also find these links to more information regarding COVID-19 and cancer useful.