Beating bowel cancer together

Advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people

Page updated: Monday 19 July 2021

Some people with cancer are more at risk of becoming seriously ill from coronavirus. The Government has produced guidance for these 'clinically extremely vulnerable' people.

Clinically extremely vulnerable people include:

  • people with cancer who are having chemotherapy
  • people who are having radical radiotherapy for lung cancer. This includes people with bowel cancer whose cancer has spread to the lung
  • people receiving immunotherapy treatments
  • people receiving other targeted treatments which can affect their immune system
  • other people who have also been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, based on clinical judgement and an assessment of their needs by their doctors. Your GP or hospital healthcare team will tell you if they think you have a high risk of becoming seriously unwell from coronavirus
  • people in England who have been identified by the risk assessment tool. Information about the latest research is below under advice for people in England.

Shielded Patient List

If you're clinically extremely vulnerable, you'll be added to the Shielded Patient List. This means that you're advised to take extra precautions to protect yourself and that you're prioritised to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you aren't on the Shielded Patient List, but think there are good clinical reasons why you should be or if you're not sure, speak to your GP or healthcare team.

The Government continues to maintain the Shielded Patient List and will write to you separately to let you know when there are changes to government guidance. If you're clinically extremely vulnerable and don't have an appointment to receive the vaccine, you can book an appointment over the phone or online. Details on how to book an appointment can be found on the NHS website. Find more information about the coronavirus vaccine on our website.

For full guidance, please refer to the government website.

If you develop symptoms of coronavirus

If you think you have developed symptoms of COVID-19 such as a new, continuous cough or fever, seek clinical advice using the NHS 111 online coronavirus service or call NHS 111. Do this as soon as you get symptoms.

If you experience sweats, coughing or shivering and you're receiving cancer treatment you should first contact:

  • your chemotherapy care line. If the chemotherapy care line is not available in your area, speak to your clinical team about who you should call in this situation
  • the Acute Oncology Service at your hospital.

In an emergency, call 999 if you're seriously ill. Do this as soon as you get symptoms.

Do not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital.

Prepare a hospital bag

Preparing a hospital bag will help the NHS provide you with the best care, if you need to go to hospital as a result of catching coronavirus. Your bag should include:

  • your emergency contact
  • a list of the medications you take (including dose and frequency)
  • any information on your planned care appointments
  • things you would need for an overnight stay (for example, medication, pyjamas, toothbrush and snacks)
  • your advanced care plan (if you have one)

Government guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people

There is separate guidance for people in England, ScotlandWales and Northern Ireland. This guidance is subject to change. Please check the government websites in the first instance.

Clinically extremely vulnerable people are advised to follow the regulations that are in place for everyone. The government also advises that you should continue to take extra precautions to keep yourself safe.

We understand that the changes to restrictions may be difficult for you, your family members and carers. The NHS website has tips on ways to cope with coming out of lockdown.

If you are unsure of your risk and what measures you should be taking, or if you don't feel comfortable with any of the changes, you should speak with your hospital specialist. If this is not possible, you may find it helpful to contact your GP. It's important that you do what you are comfortable with. This may be particularly relevant for patients who are receiving end of life care.

Our support for you

You can find all of our latest coronavirus information on our website.

Get information and support, as well as ask questions and share your tips during the coronavirus outbreak on our online community.

If you have any questions about bowel cancer and coronavirus, contact our nurses.

We've reviewed government advice and put together the information pages below.

See all our Coronavirus advice and guidance

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