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Reducing your risk

Current guidelines recommend regular handwashing with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds as a general precaution against the virus.

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 self-isolate as a precaution against exposure to anyone who may have the virus.

This guidance also gives important information about using paracetamol to treat some symptoms of COVID-19 unless your doctor has told you paracetamol is not suitable for you.

It also currently cautions people about using Ibuprofen or any other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) unless their doctor has prescribed it.  Please read the guidance and check with your doctor.

Known symptoms

  • Persistent, new cough
  • High temperature (37.8°C or above)

For the general population, people with mild symptoms should self‑isolate seven days. If someone in your household has these symptoms, the whole household should isolate for 14 days.

  • If symptoms worsen and you need medical help, contact NHS services for advice.
  • 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)
  • Obesity.

There are other factors which are listed on the NHS websites.