Last Update: March 9, 2020
National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS) understands that many of our supporters may have questions and concerns related to ongoing news reports about the spread of the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19. At this time, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) risk assessment states that: “For most people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. This virus is not currently widespread in the United States.” Additionally, the CDC notes that, in a vast majority of cases, the disease is manageable and non-life-threatening. In light of the official health risk report from the CDC, all NBTS events will continue as scheduled until further notice. NBTS continues to monitor the situation and the latest guidance from public health authorities.
Important for brain tumor patients, caregivers, and families: It has been advised, however, that the elderly and individuals with compromised immune systems — such as patient with cancer who have recently undergone, or are currently undergoing, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy — may be at an elevated risk for experiencing a more severe infection from COVID-19, if contracted. The CDC recommends that, “If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease.” Guidelines for these individuals, their caregivers, and families can be found by following this link.
It’s also important that cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation follow existing evidence-based precautions that reduce the risk of contracting infectious disease, and refer to resources such as the CDC’s “Preventing Infections in Cancer Patients” information.
Travel Related: As per any travel related to attending an NBTS event or function, the CDC is not recommending canceling or postponing travel to destinations within the continental United States, which does not currently have any advisories related to domestic travel. The CDC simply recommends taking general precautions when traveling within the U.S. to prevent the spread and/or contraction of the virus. These tips can be found here.
Consult Your Care Team: Ultimately, NBTS understands the concerns of many in the community and would recommend that if anyone is still worried about traveling or participating in an event or function that they discuss the situation further with their doctor and make a final decision about attendance based on their own comfort level and assessment of potential risk*.
Taking Precaution: *NBTS would ask — given the potential health implications for brain cancer patients and survivors who may also be attending one of our events — that any individual who is experiencing signs or symptoms that could be related to COVID-19, or who believe they may have been in contact with someone who has/may have contracted the virus, or recently traveled to a high-risk area, please fully ensure you’re cleared of the disease before attending an NBTS event or function. If you are unsure or unable to be tested prior to an NBTS, we ask that you postpone your participation and contact NBTS about other opportunities and ways to get involved in the future (as well as any applicable information on refunds, etc.).