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is it necessary to quarantine before I see a friend with cancer, undergoing chemo?
2 Posts

I have a close friend who has recently been diagnosed with cancer, and who will be starting a 6 month chemo treatment, within the next month. I live in a different town but have offered to travel to see her once a month, to help provide some light caregiving and live in emotional support, for approximately 5 or 6 days at a time. She is in a very anxious place right now and is understandably concerned about covid safety during her treatments and feels it is imperative that I go through a 5 day quarantine before I see her, each time. I am also concerned about keeping her safe as possible, but the logistics of travelling to see her may mean that I might occasionally have to take the train. I have all three vaccinations and would happily double mask, with n-59 and surgical mask during travel and trips out of the house for the days leading up to her visit. She is still concerned that this might provide too much a risk and would prefer that I come for a month or two month stay at a time, so that I dont have to add to the risk and inconvenience of travelling so much, but I am concerned that longer periods of live in support like this might not be the best thing for her or myself. Any thoughts? thank you!

6 Replies
Runner Girl
2894 Posts


How wonderful that you have offered to help your friend who is going to be going thru treatment, so very kind. Once your friend has her first chemo her immune system is going to be kicked to the curb so she will be susceptible to any and all germs, even catching the common cold could land her in the hospital or worse. So a quarantine period is probably a good idea.

When I was doing chemo, 2 years before covid showed up, I continued to work. I was not allowed to take public transit. I had to drive myself. If anyone in the office was sick they had to stay home or I would have to go home if they needed to be there. I had hand sanitizer everywhere for everyone including myself to use. At home my then fiancé knew the risks, he was at that appointment, but when he felt a cold coming he tried to hide it from me as he didn't want to have to mask up. We are no longer together for a number of reasons.

Basically, your friend's life is at risk if she catches anything during her chemo treatment. She should have a conversation with her oncologist to determine if a quarantine for you is necessary or what other steps would need to be taken.

Runner Girl

2 Posts

thank you, I appreciate your perspective! I will definitely ask if she can get an opinion from her oncologist. Covid adds so many frustrating layers of complication to these already very difficult situations!

@longdayz - how wonderful of you to extend yourself like this for your friend. As you have said, COVID adds so many layers to not only the cancer patient but to those aiming to help. An opinon from oncologist is a great idea. Also a social worker at their cancer center may have some ideas too.

I am including some info on cancer and covid from Cancer.ca too in case you find something that could be applied to your situation.


Check back and let us know how this pans out, if you are able and comfortable.


Cynthia Mac
3983 Posts
longdayz‍ , I’m glad you are researching this, and that you are really ready to do whatever is necessary to help your friend.

Runner Girl‍ Is right: chemo treatments kick your immune system to the curb. My Dad was in chemo and I was his caregiver. I had just come back from a cruise on March 5, 2020. That in itself was scary, when we went into full lockdown on the 13th, but what was worse, was I had planned to come home and resume my caregiving duties. Now at that time, we didn’t know as much as we do now, but I was SO terrified that I could have brought something home that would likely kill my dad, that I quarantined an extra week beyond the 21 days they were recommending at that point. I guess my question back to you is, if your friend did contract covid, and you suspected you were the conduit, how would you feel about that?

So, to me, the short answer to your question about whether you should quarantine is an emphatic yes.

You are wise to be investigating this, as I said above. Neither disease is to be trifled with, for sure.
124 Posts

@longdayz ,

So wonderful of you to want to help with care giving. It can be a lot physically and emotionally, but well worth it.

I agree with others that quarantining may be required. Especially if you must take public transit.

For every person you ar close to , consider the last 10 people they were close to.

We started to limit who my husband saw indoors in Jan 2020 as he was quite ill and had March 2nd 2020 surgery scheduled.

By April 2020 he was admitted for Emergency Chemo. I was found to be Covid positive May 24 2020 and had to isolate from him. He required a covid test before every 3 week chemo and had to endure all of his treatments in an isolation room. We were told if he tested positive he would not get his chemo ( and he would have died with in 2 months).

He remembers little of his worst days during that time except for the stress and depression of being in isolation. He almost walked out of treatment one day because of it.

If you can avoid you contact with others for 5 days prior to travel and avoid public transport.

If you can stay with her for the 2 months that would be best.

Good luck with your choice and all the best.



5 Posts

Your friend is anxious and this comes from the cancer and the covid. You are fortunate to be able to go and help her as that support is a welcome site. My husband has been battling during this strange time with covid and we do everything we can to make sure that he is protected. We have rapid tests in our house for ‘travellers’ to help with his anxiety also. You might also want to check though I know that some treatments right now the covid quesitons are ‘have you been around anyone that has travelled' and it might delay her treatments. I know this is not much of an answer but just a little insight.

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