As Alex Trebek continues to battle stage 4 pancreatic cancer amid COVID-19, fans are concerned over his and other cancer patients physical and mental health during this time. To help ease the anxiety, doctors tell SurvivorNet there are some specific tactics and resources to cope with the fear during the outbreak.
Trebek has been battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer since 2019, and even though he’s beating the odds when it comes to treatment, fans are still concerned how he’s managing his health amid the outbreak. Luckily, Ruta Lee, a close friend of Trebek’s, told Closer Weekly that he is “managing quite well” during Covid-19. According to Lee, Trebek has been keeping busy at home by fixing things around the house and reading. However, fans are continuing to worry about Trebek since the virus could be a health risk.Read More
Thank god I haven’t heard anything about Alex Trebek getting the coronavirus
— D. Smith (@DatDudeDS8) April 24, 2020
During this time of coronavirus Twitter really really needs an emoji to tell us if someone is trending but they're okay. Especially #AlexTrebek
— Janice Hough (@leftcoastbabe) April 23, 2020
Spent too long awake last night worried that coronavirus would rob Alex Trebek of a proper sign-off
— Emily Sandoval (@SandovalEmily) April 23, 2020
Hey #Coronavirus, STAY AWAY FROM ALEX TREBEK!!!
— Grace Cogan (@grace_cogan) April 11, 2020
Cancer Patients Managing Anxiety During COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic is proving to be a stressful situation for many people, but seeing as cancer patients are especially vulnerable, it’s important that people know how to manage their fear and anxiety in order to cope.
Dr. Dianne Shumay, a psychologist who works exclusively with cancer patients at The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Cancer Center, encourages patients to be open about their feelings with peers and other loved ones as a way to ease concerns and fears they might have. In order to practice mindfulness, Dr. Shumay recommends treating yourself with kindness, seeking social support, giving to others, and allowing yourself to receive kindness so patients can stay positive.
The outbreak is causing many people to seek answers, and by not getting them, this leads to more stress. Dr. Marianna Strongin, a Clinical Psychologist and founder of Strong In Therapy, says watching the news can sometimes cause more anxiety for people since it can lead to more questions.
“If you have been diagnosed with cancer, you are far more resilient than you believe,” Dr. Strongin tells SurvivorNet. “Similarly to a cancer diagnosis, people go on the internet looking for an answer and not looking for their doctors to answer it, and what they come out with are more questions. More questions equal more anxiety. So, let’s all figure out what the question is, and if we can’t answer it ourselves, and we can’t self-soothe ourselves, let’s look for a doctor that can provide us with the facts”
Ovarian cancer survivor Maris Scheiss also talked to SurvivorNet about how she’s coping with the threat of COVID-19. Despite being young and healthy, Scheiss knows that she is immunocompromised from past treatments during her battle with cancer, and news of the virus was a scary, unexpected surprise. To stay healthy, Scheiss started taking extra precautions and following all recommended guidelines like washing her hands, constantly making sure her home is sanitized, and staying home as much as possible. However, as a cancer survivor, Scheiss says she feels prepared to take on yet another health risk.
“I do find some sort of calm in having gone through not something similar, but this level of anxiety before,” Scheiss says. “I know sometimes you have to put life on the back burner and worry about your health for five months, but I’ve been lucky to find the other side of that once before, and I have to continue to remain positive and look for that other side of this again.”