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Cancer patients can face treatment disruptions during extreme weather » Yale Climate Connections


For people with cancer, climate disasters like wildfires or hurricanes can be especially disruptive.

Some cancer treatments, like chemotherapy and radiation, require frequent doctor’s visits. If patients need to evacuate due to extreme weather, they may not be able to get this critical care.

Nogueira: “During active cancer treatment, having continuity of care, uninterrupted access to care, is extremely important so that we win this battle with the tumor.”

Leticia Nogueira is with the American Cancer Society.

She says patients can prepare for disasters by creating a medical card that they can give to new doctors with the details of their treatment.

They can also identify shelters with medical staff on site and generators to run refrigerators that can keep medicine cold.

But Nogueira says that the burden of preparing for emergencies should not fall entirely on patients.

Nogueira: “Being a cancer patient or a caregiver for a cancer patient already requires and demands a lot — a lot of financial resources, a lot of mental health strength.”

So she says health providers also need to make emergency plans. And they should prepare to help patients evacuating from disaster zones — so those in need can still access critical treatments.

Reporting credit: Ethan Freedman / ChavoBart Digital Media


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