Reducing your risk
Current guidelines recommend regular handwashing with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds, using hand sanitiser and covering coughs and sneezes as general precautions against the virus.
You would also be expected to practise social distancing and to wear a face covering in enclosed spaces and on public transport. Avoid crowded places where you can.
COVID-19 is a disease that affects the respiratory system so those who have lung disease, including lung cancer, may have less resistance to the infection or more severe symptoms.
If you have had treatment for lung cancer (such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or immunotherapy), you are likely to be considered to be “vulnerable” or “at risk” and would be advised to take extra precautions against exposure to anyone who may have the virus.
See Government guidelines:
- England: www.gov.uk/coronavirus
- Scotland: www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19
- Wales: www.gov.wales/coronavirus
- Northern Ireland: www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/coronavirus-covid-19
- persistent, new cough
- high temperature (37.8°C or above)
- a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell
For most people, COVID-19 will be a mild illness. However, if you have any of these symptoms, you need to stay at home for at least 10 days and arrange to have a test to check if you have coronavirus. You may also have to stay at home if you have been contacted by an NHS track and trace or test and protect call centre. You may be fined if you don’t follow these guidelines.
If you live with others, all other household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the household became ill or if they do not have symptoms, from the day their test was taken. If anyone else in the household starts displaying symptoms, they must stay at home for at least 10 days from when their symptoms appear, regardless of what day they are on in their original 14-day isolation period.
You can find out more about the COVID-19 track and trace apps in each of the devolved nations here:
- England: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/
- Scotland: www.nhsinform.scot/campaigns/test-and-protect
- Wales: www.gov.wales/test-trace-protect-coronavirus
- Northern Ireland: www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-and-contact-tracing
If you still have a temperature after 10 days, or if your symptoms worsen, seek medical help.
If you are on cancer treatment contact your cancer team.
Factors influencing risk:
- If you have had chemotherapy within the past three months or are currently having chemotherapy.
- If you are having immunotherapy or another continuing antibody treatment.
- If you are having another targeted treatment or maintenance therapy such as protein kinase inhibitors, tyrosine kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors.
- If you have had radiotherapy to your lungs.
- If you have active lung cancer in your body, even if you are not currently receiving treatment.
There is evidence from China that shows that ex‑ and non‑smokers had better outcomes if exposed to the virus when compared to current smokers. So, if you are a current smoker, please think about stopping now. There are support services around that can help, including our online community.
Other factors that may increase risk:
- Increased age, if you are 65 or over
- Other pre-existing health conditions (such as COPD and diabetes)
There are other factors which are listed on the NHS websites.