Precautions for Cancer Patients

The well-being and safety of patients with cancer and blood diseases is our highest priority.  Information related to COVID-19 is constantly changing. This site is meant to be the source for latest information for patients receiving care at the UW Carbone Cancer Center. As the U.S. begins broader distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, UW Carbone Cancer Center within UW Health is bound to follow state of Wisconsin guidance regarding COVID-19 vaccination. UW Health is beginning vaccination for patients who receive primary care through UW Health. 

Details about this are available on our COVID-19 vaccine page. For common questions about the vaccine, please see the COVID-19 vaccine frequently asked questions page.

The UW Carbone Cancer Center will not be a location for vaccine delivery and cannot currently order or schedule vaccination for you.

COVID-19 Vaccine and Considerations for Cancer Patients

Is it safe for UW Carbone Cancer Center patients to get vaccinated for COVID-19?

The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are as safe as other vaccines that our patients receive. Because patients with active cancer carry an increased risk for worse illness from COVID-19, UW Carbone Cancer Center recommends vaccination to our patients. The risks associated with getting this vaccine are minimal and are outweighed by the risk of severe illness should you not receive the vaccine and become infected with COVID-19.

There are some important issues for timing of vaccine that your UW Carbone Cancer Center team will consider.  If you have active cancer or are receiving some forms of cancer therapy such as chemotherapy, immune therapy or radiation, physicians may make adjustments to your treatment schedule or may ask you to make possible adjustments to timing of your vaccination.

Patients who have undergone or are scheduled for a bone marrow transplant or certain types of cellular therapy will receive specific guidance from your transplant team about vaccine timing questions; there are no different safety related issues for our patients receiving these therapies.  

If you are on active treatment, connect with your UW Carbone Cancer Center team before being vaccinated to understand any timing recommendations.  MyChart is a great tool for this.  Send a message to your clinic using MyChart. Log in to your UW Health MyChart account.

Are you able to get the vaccine in your community?

Please do not delay any treatment for cancer in order to receive the COVID-19 vaccine unless specifically recommended by your cancer specialist. If you are a cancer survivor, it should be safe for you to receive the vaccine, including individuals currently on long term endocrine (anti-estrogen or hormonal) therapy. If you have concerns, communicate with your oncologist or primary care physician.

Information for Patients with Appointments at the UW Carbone Cancer Center

Before You Arrive

If you are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 or concerned about attending upcoming appointments, contact your healthcare provider via phone or MyChart.

It is possible we will contact patients (i.e. immunosuppressed) who are coming for routine care (i.e. follow-up visits). If you are coming for routine care and have concerns, you can call or send a MyChart message to your clinic to discuss if there are any alternate options such as a video visit through CareAnywhere.

When You Arrive

We are screening all patients, visitors and staff for symptoms, your temperature will be taken with a no-touch thermometer and you will be required to wear a face covering in our facilities. If you do not have a face covering, we will provide one to you. View Symptoms and Care

Guidelines on Visitors and Patient Events

To help protect the health and safety of our patients, visitors and care providers, it is important to follow the hospital rules and regulations and comply with requests from the care team and staff. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding. View the latest patient and visitor guidelines

Protection against respiratory illnesses

Please know you can protect yourself from respiratory infections by:

  • Refraining from touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Washing your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or using hand sanitizing gel
  • Engaging in social distancing – try to keep a physical distance from others
  • Avoiding crowded areas, large gatherings and sick people
  • If you have a low white blood cell count, wear a mask in public. ( If you are experiencing severe respiratory symptoms, call 911.)

Recent studies have shown that many individuals with COVID-19 can transmit the virus without showing any symptoms through speaking, coughing or sneezing. While the most critical step to stopping the spread of the virus is still social distancing, good hygiene and hand washing with soap and water, wearing a face covering in essential public settings (grocery store, pharmacy) can provide an extra layer of protection.

The American Cancer Society on Coronavirus

Cancer patients are among those at high risk of serious illness from an infection because their immune systems are often weakened by cancer and its treatments. Patients and their caregivers need to take precautions to lower their risk of getting COVID-19. The CDC has specific recommendations for people at risk for serious illness, including COVID-19 infection.

For FAQs and more from the American Cancer Society regarding COVID-19, click here.