At ZERO, we love hearing from patients and families. We always want to know how you’re doing and how we can support you. This is especially true during rough times like these as we weather the COVID-19 pandemic together. To better understand your needs, ZERO conducted its second survey within the prostate cancer community that specifically asked about the impacts of COVID-19. An initial survey was conducted in April, followed by a separate survey in early July. Both surveys garnered over 100 responses each. These surveys asked patients, caregivers, and survivors how they were faring during the pandemic, and the struggles and challenges they are facing.
In April, we found that the greatest need among the ZERO community was simply staying safe. Given that prostate cancer patients are a higher-risk group, their immune systems were at an increased risk than someone of average health. Additionally, patients wanted to know what actions they could take to keep safe. Lastly, financial and emotional concerns, such as the inability to pay bills, lack of job security, and not being able to connect with prostate cancer peers were also causing severe stress and worry.
In July, we found that our second survey reflected similar concerns, with safety for prostate cancer patients still being the greatest need by far. Though, in July, fears that existing challenges may be insurmountable were far higher than they were in April. This makes sense, as the country is still struggling widely with the pandemic, and the so-called “second wave” is supposed to make things even tougher. One question caregiver’s question below showcases how many in the community are feeling:
“When will this pandemic ever end? What’s next? Will my husband survive if he contracts COVID-19?”
The July survey included additional questions about interruptions to care, telemedicine, and feelings about state re-openings. About 24% of respondents said that their prostate cancer diagnosis, treatment, or care was disrupted by COVID-19, with access to doctors being the greatest area of disruption. About 64% said that they have utilized telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic, and when asked to assess their experience with telemedicine, the average rating was a 2.98 out of 4.
But, like April, our July survey also saw a glimpse of hopefulness. Some patients and families felt optimism radiating from others in the prostate cancer community. ZERO wants you and the rest of the community to know: We are here for YOU! You don’t have to experience COVID-19 alone. Our various programs and resources allow for connection, support, and more. Visit our COVID-19 page for more on ZERO’s many free resources including FAQs and videos.
Thank you to everyone that has responded to our surveys. During these difficult times, it’s more important than ever to hear directly from all of you. You and your families are our priority.
To help patients and families during this time, please consider donating to the COVID-19 Support Fund. Donations will help patients and families access the critical resources and care they need, when they need it most. And if you want to share how your experience as a patient, caregiver, or survivor has changed during COVID-19, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure to follow ZERO on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to get the latest updates about prostate cancer and COVID-19. We’d love to hear from you and welcome guest blog posts from our amazing and passionate community!