Reflecting on COVID-19 and the Importance of Providing Information to People With Cancer: An Expert’s Perspective

The beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic brought with it confusion, fear, and uncertainty for most people around the globe. These feelings were often heightened for people with cancer as they experienced disruptions or changes in care, such as following greater safety precautions at their treatment centers, having their appointments shifted to televisits, and facing delays in recommended cancer screenings.

As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cancer.Net developed several resources for people with cancer, including its post “Coronavirus and COVID-19: What People With Cancer Need to Know,” written by Merry Jennifer Markham, MD, FACP, FASCO. After publishing this post on March 3, 2020, Dr. Markham reviewed and updated the post for 650 days straight to make sure people with cancer were receiving the most up-to-date and relevant information about COVID-19. The post went on to receive the Award of Distinction from the eHealthcare Awards in the Best COVID-19 Pandemic Related Communications category and was translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and Arabic.

In this podcast, Julie Gralow, MD, FACP, FASCO, talks with Dr. Markham about her role in creating information for people with cancer throughout the pandemic, how the pandemic has shifted her perspective, and where she sees the future of the pandemic response headed.

  • What do you remember about the start of the pandemic in March 2020? [4:27]

  • How has your focus on creating COVID-19 information for people with cancer affected your perspective of the pandemic? [6:04]

  • What stands out to you from the early days of the pandemic? [8:21]

  • How did your own COVID-19 diagnosis change your perspective of the pandemic? [9:18]

  • Where do you see the future response to the COVID-19 pandemic headed? [10:50]

  • Do you think wearing a mask will continue to be commonplace as a result of the pandemic? [13:31]

Dr. Gralow is the Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Dr. Markham is the chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology and a clinical professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Florida. She is also the 2022 Cancer.Net Associate Editor for Gynecologic Cancers.

Dr. Markham’s disclosure information can be found in her individual biography linked to above. View Dr. Gralow’s disclosures.

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