Stigma of COVID-19 ‘worse’ than that of cancer

A Philippine Society of Medical Oncology survey revealed 93% of doctors had a patient whose cancer had progressed or died after they were not able to seek urgent care amid the pandemic.

Oncologist Meredith Garcia-Trinidad said some patients were afraid to go to the hospital for fear of contracting COVID-19.

She shared, “They are even more afraid to go when they have fever, cough, difficulty breathing because they don’t want to be tagged as a COVID-19 case. The stigma is really bad, even worse than the stigma of having cancer. Or they don’t want to be alone since they will need to be isolated.”

But delays in treatment and diagnosis only mean bad news in the long run.

As COVID-19 quarantines have eased compared to the beginning of the year, Garcia-Trinidad says she is seeing more patients now, with the necessary COVID-19 precaution measures in place as well as implementing a by-appointment system to avoid crowding and limit patient exposure.

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