Cancer patients dodge therapy due to virus

Radiation oncologists are urging patients to continue therapy during the coronavirus pandemic.
Radiation oncologists are urging patients to continue therapy during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cancer experts are worried patients are avoiding vital radiation therapy because of concerns about catching coronavirus.

Radiation oncologists are urging patients to continue therapy despite misinformation about the safety of seeking cancer treatment during the pandemic.

Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists' Madhavi Chilkuri says radiation therapy is still an essential medical service.

"Every precaution is being taken to ensure infection control and the safety of patients and staff," Dr Chilkuri said.

"We are also able to adjust doses in some individual cases to reduce the frequency of visits required."

The federal government and Australian Medical Association have also urged people with chronic conditions to keep getting treatment.

Dr Chilkuri said some oncologists had even begun using telehealth services to help patients arrange their treatment.

Australian Associated Press