TREATING CANCER DURING COVID
MORE ADVANCED CANCER IN MANY PATIENTS
Poughkeepsie, NY-October 19, 2021–As Dr. Ram Kancherla was just about to celebrate his 20th year of treating cancer patients in the Mid-Hudson Valley, he began to embark on a new and unexpected journey with his patients, that he never could have anticipated–and one that was not worthy of celebration.
In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic paralyzed our nation and the world, Hudson Valley Cancer Center, where Kancherla is managing partner, did anything but stay still.
“We never stopped seeing patients, and our practice never closed its doors,” says Kancherla, who is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology. He is proud of the fact that his physicians were the seeing patients with cancer and blood disorders at local hospitals at the height of the pandemic.
“We were—and still are—committed to protecting our patients during this difficult time and to safely provide them with the life-saving treatments they need.”
Hudson Valley Cancer Center, with three locations in Poughkeepsie, Fishkill and Yorktown Heights, has remained primarily COVID-free since the onset of the pandemic and has had no interruption in chemotherapy, infusions or in other life-saving treatments.
Unfortunately, Oncologists say that as patients are returning to offices, they are now seeing an increase in new patients with more advanced cancer.
“Because of COVID, people put off their routine screenings, such as mammograms, colonoscopies, pap smears and even their annual physicals. This has resulted in more patients with more advanced cancer–cancer that went undiagnosed, could have been caught much earlier or prevented altogether.”
Kancherla is a strong advocate of the COVID-19 vaccine and says he almost always recommends it for all his patients—even though it is less effective in compromised individuals. He points out that, with many patients, the vaccine should be strategically scheduled around any treatments they have planned. He is also recommending the booster for all compromised patients.
Of course, the vaccine arrived too late for some, who succumbed to COVID before they were able to acquire an appointment. Kancherla recalls one of his long-time patients, a gentleman in his mid-seventies with Multiple Myeloma. “He was a patient of mine for many years and was doing very well, but he just wasn’t able to get a vaccine in time, and he didn’t make it. This is the tragic ending of the story for so many.” Kancherla points out that there is some good news as the variant COVID cases decline and hospitalizations slowly come down as a result of the vaccine.For more information, visit HudsonValleyCancerCenter.com or call 845-454-1942. To acquire your COVID-19 vaccine in New York, visit ny.gov/vaccine or call the New York State COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline at 1-833-NYS-4-VAX.