Coronavirus and cancer – guidance for young people aged 19+

Getting your head around cancer is difficult. Add to that the challenges of coronavirus and suddenly you’ve got a whole lot more guidance to get to grips with. We’ve reviewed the Government advice to help you understand what it means for young adults with cancer.

Update: 5 January 2021 (update coloured in red).

In addition to all of the guidance below, please note that from 5 January 2021 we have entered a second National Lockdown. This means that everyone except for key workers (like people working in the food supply industry, doctors and nurses) should stay at home. If you are a key worker and are also clinically extremely vulnerable you should also stay at home. If you are not a key worker you can only go out for exercise and for essential activities like buying food, getting medicines and accessing healthcare. People who are clinically extremely vulnerable, should only go outdoors for medical appointments, exercise and if essential (such as reaching safety from domestic abuse). Anyone who has to go out should stay local and not travel to other areas of the country.

This guidance is for young people aged 19 and over. If you’re under 19, have a read of our guidance for younger people. If there’s anything you’re not sure about, speak to your clinical team so they can advise you.

Shielding Guidance

The advice about shielding has been updated since the first lockdown in early 2020. It now aims to strike a better balance between keeping you safe from the virus, and also reducing some of the potential harms on mental and social wellbeing linked to the previous stricter shielding approach. Shielding only applies in Tier 4 Alert Levels or Level 4 protection levels to the clinically extremely vulnerable, and during temporary periods of national lockdown.

Advice for young people with cancer who are not clinically extremely vulnerable

You should follow the guidance for the general population and your local Tier or protection level (Scotland) and adhere to any temporary national lockdown measures.

General guidance for people with cancer

We know that even though shielding is different now than in the first national lockdown for extremely vulnerable groups, your clinical team knows your individual circumstances and will advise on what is right for you. If you’re undergoing cancer treatment whether or not you are in the clinically extremely vulnerable group, you are still likely to be advised to take extra precautions to protect you from all types of infections, not just COVID-19. This could mean your local clinical team still advises you to avoid crowds, not attend university, college or work, and distance yourself if household members are unwell with things like flu, D&V, chicken-pox, shingles or cold sores, and certainly if they have any COVID-19 symptoms.