“If I can live with cancer, I can certainly live with Covid-19,” George Alagiah, a BBC newsreader who is battling bowel cancer, told BBC.
Alagiah, 64, spoke to his colleagues about testing positive for coronavirus after experiencing a fever. Once he saw his temperature was higher than normal he contacted his doctors who performed tests, and a few days later his oncologist told him that had Covid-19. Alagiah’s case was mild compared to others since he did not have any other symptoms of the virus, and the newsreader said he’s been feeling better over the last few days.Read More
Alagiah was first diagnosed with bowel cancer in April 2014. After a brief remission, he revealed in December 2017 that the disease had returned. Alagiah took a break from presenting until January 2019, but decided to quarantine himself in March during Covid-19. While speaking to BBC, Alagiah gave an uplifting message to cancer patients who are feeling threatened by the outbreak.
“For all those people out there living with cancer, my message is firstly, we all know what uncertainty is about, we all know what being in a life-threatening situation is about, and this needn’t be like that,” Alagiah said. “I don’t want to trivialize it simply because I seem to have a mild or moderate case of Covid-19, but actually the very fact that we’re living with cancer I think gives us an edge. We’ve confronted those kinds of difficult, dark moments in our life and in some ways I think that we, those of living with cancer, are stronger because we kind of know what it is like to go into something where the outcome are uncertain.”
How Cancer Patients Can Cope During Covid-19
As coronavirus cases continue to rise, cancer patients might feel especially vulnerable. Luckily, Clinical Psychologist Dr. Marianna Strongin spoke to SurvivorNet about ways to cope with Covid-19 and help mental health. According to Dr. Strongin, telemedicine can help with anxiety or at-home practices like breathing exercises can be effective.
Dr. Strongin also says that if people are looking for answers about coronavirus, they should turn to medical professionals for accurate information. Questions cause more anxiety for people, and watching the news endlessly can sometimes do more harm than good.
“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,” Dr. Strongin tells SurvivorNet. “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.”