From the worry of getting infected with Corona in addition to the already serious illness, to being forced to walk this frightening path alone - these are the stories of people who are fighting their cancer in the pandemic.
Since the world was locked down, there has been a lot of talk about what it's like to have children in pandemic times when friends and family can't share happiness. But what about the women and men who have cancer, who have to go through the treatments all by themselves, only surrounded by strange, masked faces?
Some feel the consequences of delaying doctor's appointments for fear of contracting corona. In addition, there is uncertainty as to whether the life-saving operation will possibly be postponed or canceled and the condition might worsen by the new appointment. Another factor is that if the virus hits the world around them, their suffering may worsen, either because their weakened condition is made worse by Covid-19 infection or because people in more stable health are given preference in treatment could be.
While the coronavirus is putting health systems to the test worldwide, cancer and other life-threatening diseases can slide down the priority list. Ten people with cancer tell their story here.
Darrel Amrani-Roshier, 22, UK
"I was diagnosed with a rare and fatal form of the neuroendocrine tumor with a life expectancy of twelve months. The hardest part about treatment during the pandemic is that I have to go through it all by myself. Sometimes you just need a familiar face that tells you that everything is fine. But unfortunately, you can't get this kind of support in the hospital at the moment."
"I don't think the pandemic has changed the way I talk about my cancer, I continue to be an open and honest person, but I do think it made people more likely to listen and more attentive My message to others in my situation is to stay strong and hopeful. There are days when you think you can't go on, but you can. And when someone needs a friendly face, just chat or something, just get in touch."
Crysta Balis, 38, Canada
"When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, all operations were postponed because of the corona, and the follow-up tests to find out whether metastases had formed were not available. Treatment options vary greatly depending on the cancer type and stage, but there was no chance with one hundred percent certainty to determine what I had. So I had to blindly make speculative decisions and I will never know if they might have been wrong."
"At the time of treatment, I was terrified of being around people. Some of my most important meetings were by phone or zoom. Personally, the first time I saw my surgeon was when I was on the operating table and she signaled me a smile by winking her eyes over her mask. Another difficult thing was that my chemotherapy fell into the phase when everything was opened a bit outside, so we had to seal our bladder a little more while others could enjoy more freedom. And now everyone is suffering from corona fatigue. I try not to take it personally when people I know whine about the restrictions being stupid, but I have a hard time. The restrictions protect me and my family."
Tara Maxwell, 42, USA
"Although my [breast cancer] diagnosis dominated everything at the beginning, the uncertainty of the pandemic increased my fears immensely. It was another burden of worry that I had to work through. I was concerned that my three children might bring in additional germs."
"But this mix of pandemic and my cancer adventure has added another dimension to everything I value most: my children, my husband, my friends, and everyday life. I like to be afraid and occasionally doubt that my life will go on as I want, but I also know that I cannot control everything. This simple fact helps me to focus on the most important things anew every day."
Mary Evans, 28, UK
"My cancer is stage 1, grade 3. There has been no escape, no break, no meeting with friends for lunch or a snack with the family to distract me. So I was exposed to more. Covid-19 got me on definitely trying to get other young women not to be afraid of going to the doctor. I was also afraid of Corona, but if I hadn't gone, I might not be there now."
Kelly Hutton, 46, New Zealand
"I was in the third circle of ovarian cancer chemotherapy when the lockdown began. The immune system is already weakened, you fight for your life, and then comes Covid-19, which could kill you in this condition. It was heartbreaking and scary. Man is then one of the 'at risks' the news is talking about. My life was suddenly considered less valuable than that of a healthy person of the same age. If I had died of Covid-19 complications, people would have said, 'Well yes, she already had cancer anyway.'"
"I was very open about my diagnosis and posted a lot about it on social media during my treatment. Because everyone around you and around the world is in this constant state of bewilderment and fear, I've sometimes felt almost guilty - nobody needs more bad news on his news feed. But I've talked about it and I've been inundated with unexpected amounts of support and encouragement."
Dr. Karen Walsh, 37, Ireland
"I was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer in 2019. Because of Covid-19, my CT scans were postponed and when they were finally done I was unfortunately told that cancer had now spread to my lungs."
"Covid-19 scared me about the future of cancer treatment. It looks like trials for novel cancer treatments will be suspended. Charities are suffering because they received less money due to canceled donation events in 2020. On the other hand, I was impressed. how quickly vaccines were tested and approved. That gives me hope about the possibilities of future cancer research."
Tara Innes, 36, UK
"I'm lucky that my treatment continued unchanged during the pandemic. The first lockdown fell on my chemotherapy. I was in quarantine and super-cautious the whole time because my immune system was weakened. When everyone else had to stay at home, it actually made me feel less isolated and decreased the feeling of missing out."
"I also felt better understood. There were other benefits too - I didn't have to meet anyone in person when I had no eyelashes or when my hair was in this weird state of regrowth. I try to focus on the positives and to remain optimistic that it will get better. I'm just happy to be alive."
Andrea Zanini-Hooey, 42, Canada
"Homeschooling my kids while they are on chemotherapy is quite a challenge. I'm constantly tired and don't feel good. I'm not the fun mom I would like to be. But I still feel lucky - I have a roof over my head, and thanks to my friends, colleagues, and great people around me, I have something to eat in the fridge. A wonderful friend started a GoFundMe, which really helped with the medical expenses. My husband was able to during The pandemic continues to work, and we can get there with the money. I know that many have a harder time."
Ali Underhill, 42, UK
"My biggest concern was that I would get infected with Corona while my immune system was down, and that's exactly what happened. It was quite difficult to switch mentally, so first to be shielded and then suddenly run the risk of infecting others, when you breathe or touch something. All of a sudden I was the threat. I was hospitalized for a week while my body was fighting the disease. Then it was two months before I finally tested negative for the virus. During that time I ran my chemotherapy continues."
"It can easily happen that because of the pandemic one hides, becomes more isolated and withdraws, which is unhealthy. I come into regular contact with people. Everyone suffers and mourns The fact of having a treatment plan that I follow every week gave me stability and habit during these times."
Niki Turner, 53, UK
"The hardest part is the insecurity and the isolation. Apart from that, I find it difficult to slow down. So I am very selfishly grateful for the lockdown - it forces me to take a break and don't have to feel guilty. At the beginning of the Coping with the coronavirus, the crisis was like being shot at from both sides in a trench. But to use the immortal words of Gloria Gaynor - I will survive, I will survive."