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Emergency Preparation

Treatment interruptions, for various reasons, do happen. When conditions allow you to resume treatment, your radiation oncologist is the best person to determine how to proceed with your care and any alteration that need to be made to your schedule.


The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has rapidly been spreading across the globe, including in many communities in the United States. People who are elderly and patients who are immune compromised, including cancer patients, are more susceptible to this virus. Because it is important for patients to receive their treatments without interruptions, it is recommended that patients take the time now to speak with their physicians about a contingency plan should their treatment plan be impacted.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has made the following recommendations for patients and the public about general care:

  • Stock up on supplies that would be needed to stay home for a period of time (household items, groceries, medications).
  • Be sure you have enough over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other flu-like symptoms. Most people will recover from COVID-19 at home.
  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
  • Take precautions to keep space between yourself and others (six feet is the recommended distance).
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible and, if you are in public, avoid touching frequently used surfaces such as handrails, handles, or elevator buttons.
  • Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
  • During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.   
Visit the CDC online for more practical tips for protecting your health and keeping the transmission rate of this virus low at To learn information specific to your state, visit your state health department.

If you or a loved one does develop mild flu-like symptoms (fever, muscle aches, cough, sneezing, running nose), call your doctor's office for advice before going in to be seen.

Additional Resources:

Natural Disasters

Natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding and earthquakes can happen at any time. For cancer patients, it is especially important to be prepared should something happen that would disrupt your treatment. In the event of a disaster your safety should be considered first.

Here is a list of things patients undergoing radiation therapy should do to be prepared:

  • Talk with your radiation oncology treatment team about what to do.
    • What is your treatment center’s plan in the event of a disaster.
    • How will you stay in contact with the facility – Be sure to have your health care provider's contact information and other important phone numbers written down on an index card and with you at all times.
    • How can you access your medical records should you be displaced long-term.
  • Know your exact diagnosis, cancer stage and any medications you take.
    • If you are receiving radiation or chemotherapy, know where you are in your treatment cycle.
  • Be sure to have your insurance card. You will need to contact your insurance provider in the event you are displaced and need to seek care.
  • Work with your family and friends to create a plan identifying who can help you during this event.