We regularly update this blog with the latest information and advice on COVID-19 for people with cancer.
Changes to vaccination priority list for some cancer patients
Changes to the NHS Covid-19 vaccination prioritisation in England now means that patients that are planned to start, or are already undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatments, are to be included in priority group 4.
When will I get my vaccine?
In England the NHS Covid-19 vaccination prioritisation has changed so that people who are planned to start or are already undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatments will now be included in priority group 4.
On January 18th the Government announced that the priority 4 group would begin to receive invitations for vaccination appointments. Priority group 4 includes people who are clinically extremely vulnerable and will now include people having active cancer treatment as well as many in follow-up. All other cancer patients such as those treated a long time previously and who were treated surgically will be covered by priority group 6.
These patients can now be recommended for COVID-19 vaccination prior to their treatment where it is deemed clinically safe to do so. People whose level of risk is about to increase – such as those waiting for planned cancer surgery – may also be offered the vaccine alongside the clinically extremely vulnerable group.
Clinicians may advise their patients that they should be vaccinated – ideally at least two weeks before they start treatment – however decisions will always be taken based on the case of the individual patient, taking into account their current health, their likelihood of exposure to the virus and the risk to their health from COVID-19.
Clinically urgent cancer treatment should not be delayed by vaccination.
Chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer
Chemotherapy treatment is the use of cytotoxic (cell-killing) medicines to destroy cancer cells. However, the treatment reaches all of the cells in the body. Chemotherapy is therefore known as a systemic therapy. It is an important treatment option for many types of cancer.
You can find out more about the use of chemotherapy for the treatment of Pancreatic Cancer here: Pancreatic Cancer & chemotherapy
Radiotherapy for pancreatic cancer
Radiotherapy treats cancer by using high-energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells, while doing as little harm as possible to normal cells.
Radiotherapy is not used as often as chemotherapy or surgery to treat pancreatic cancer. You may have radiotherapy alongside chemotherapy or on its own. It works by using high energy rays to destroy cancer cells, whilst leaving your healthy cells as unharmed as possible.