Turkish doctor urges cancer patients to get vaccinated

A top Turkish oncologist has urged cancer patients to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Gokhan Ozyigit, the head of the Turkish Radiation Oncology Association, said that their biggest concern is cases of advanced stage cancer and cancer-related deaths will rise significantly in the coming years.

“We know that our citizens over the age of 65 experience difficulties in accessing special health services such as cancer treatment due to mandatory COVID-19 restrictions.”

“Some of our patients refrained from going to hospitals due to COVID-19, even though they have complaints. As a result, the flow of patients in advanced stages of cancer increased and diagnoses were delayed.”

He said the number of patients dropped significantly in the early months of the pandemic, especially those referred for radiotherapy.

“Since most of our treatments are not in the group that can be postponed, our radiotherapy services continued throughout the country during the coronavirus outbreak,” he said.

Ozyigit stated that they were in constant touch with the health officials.

“All of our vital suggestions were welcomed by the relevant boards and included in the guidelines. Lastly, we made a joint application with the Turkish Medical Oncology Association,” he added.

With the application, cancer patients became the priority group during vaccination, he said.

Furthermore, he said that cancer and COVID-19 are a deadly combination.

Since Turkey began a mass vaccination campaign on Jan. 14, it has administered over 16.77 million coronavirus vaccine jabs, according to official figures.

More than 9.6 million people to date have received their first doses, while second doses have been given to over 7.14 million.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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