The global COVID-19 pandemic brings unique circumstances and challenges for cancer treatment. “Cancer patients currently are at a five-fold increased risk of mortality from COVID-19,” said Dr Prasun Mishra, president and chief executive officer of American Association of Precision Medicine (AAPM) and chair of the AAPM Coronavirus Taskforce (ACT), which brings together global clinical, scientific and technological leaders to discover and disseminate strategies for COVID-19 specific prevention, diagnostics, therapeutics and solutions.

Cancer patients and their families already undergo significant anxiety and mental stress having to deal with difficulties in diagnosis, access to care, treatments and lifestyle changes [Image: Shutterstock]

“To date, there are no official recommendations in terms of ongoing oncology treatments with COVID-19 in mind, and cancer patients are struggling with the reality of undergoing lifesaving treatments that could potentially compromise their immune system, making them more susceptible to the widespread pandemic,” said Dr Mishra.

In light of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, GRYT Health, (‘grit‘) creator of the Global Virtual Cancer Conference and the GRYT Health Cancer Platform, has partnered with the American Association of Precision Medicine (AAPM), a non-profit organisation focused on accelerating precision medicine and transforming patient health, to bring timely ongoing updates, expertise, resources, and connection to those dealing with a cancer diagnosis. To connect cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, and the general public to realtime information and experts to help inform decision making, GRYT Health and AAPM have developed a suite of resources on grythealth.com/coronavirus.

“Especially at a time when clear, actionable information is unavailable for those dealing with cancer and the coronavirus simultaneously, our community-based approach will provide targeted, timely resources where it is needed most – to cancer patients and their caregivers wondering how the virus affects their disease and treatment,” said Dave Fuehrer, chief executive officer of GRYT Health and two-time cancer survivor.

The web portal will provide access to experts shaping public policy, diagnostics, and patient experience highlights, as well as weekly live programming to discuss the latest research and targeted updates to the cancer community in an interactive format. As programmes are offered virtually, users can be anywhere in the world, aligning with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation of social distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“Cancer patients and their families already undergo significant anxiety and mental stress having to deal with difficulties in diagnosis, access to care, treatments and lifestyle changes,” said Fuehrer. “Trying to figure out what precautions they need to take regarding COVID-19 only exacerbates the patient burden. We are proud to offer resources that will not only inform them but offer a way to get questions answered and provide connectivity through our global virtual cancer community in a time of mandated isolation.”

In addition to the resources available on grythealth.com/coronavirus, users have the ability to connect with their peers in a variety of chatrooms on the GRYT Health platform, available at grythealth.com or on the free GRYT Health app, to find support and connections through others who are undergoing similar experiences. The platform also offers access to free 24/7 support through the mental-health tool, Vivibot, which is clinically proven to decrease anxiety and increase resiliency.

The series of free, live, virtual programming kicked-off with a COVID-19 patient and a physician treating those with COVID-19 on 28 March, followed by:

COVID-19 Leaders Forum: (4 April 2020)

COVID-19 Global Forum: (11 April 2020)

COVID-19 Global Summit: (18 April 2020)

Authenticity: Cancer & Your Mental Health Summit: (25 April 2020).

All programmes will be recorded and available on demand. Users can register for these free programmes by visiting grythealth.com/coronavirus, where they can also connect with our cancer community at any time and receive support. Additionally, users can sign up to receive ongoing updates regarding the latest COVID-19 news impacting their journeys.