As Ohio State oncologists continue to provide cancer care during the COVID-19 pandemic, OSUCCC &ndash; James experts are working with patients and their families to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection. Visitor Restrictions One of the most effective ways to limit the spread of COVID-19 is to practice physical distancing whenever possible. This is especially important where cancer patients are concerned because they have compromised immune systems due to their disease and/or related treatment. While some in-person interaction is a must for many patients due to surgery, chemotherapy or other necessary cancer treatments, the limiting of visitors during the pandemic can greatly reduce the chances of coming into contact with a carrier of COVID-19, which can cause infection without the presentation of symptoms. While the restriction of physical visits (with some exceptions) can be upsetting at times, patients and families are encouraged to remain in contact throughout the pandemic via phone and online interactions. Experts at The James and other cancer centers are always on-hand to provide information and assistance for those interested in establishing these lines of virtual communication. Telehealth Visits Through built-in cameras on smartphones, laptops and home computers &mdash; or external webcams &mdash; cancer patients can engage in a wide variety of thorough consultations with their providers online through virtual meeting programs, many of which are available free of charge. &ldquo;Our approach to telehealth goes beyond a simple conversation between the provider and a patient, because our cancer patient population is unique and requires more than that,&rdquo; says James Chen, MD, a medical oncologist who is co-leading the telehealth initiative at The James with Robb Stillman, RN, director of clinical informatics, and Samantha Jaglowski, MD, a hematologist. &ldquo;Every patient still receives a comprehensive nursing assessment and an evaluation by the physician team. Pharmacists, social workers and dietitians are all still incorporated into each patient&rsquo;s visit, as appropriate.&rdquo; Anyone interested in information about virtual visits, including best practices and available programs, should discuss available options with their oncologists. During the pandemic, many medical procedures, including elective surgeries, are being postponed until the risk of COVID-19 infection falls. While these postponements are an important part of the combined effort to &ldquo;flatten the curve&rdquo; of the novel coronavirus, many cancer treatments are vital for the health of patients, and should continue throughout the physical distancing period. Patients should discuss their specific needs with their oncology teams to determine the best &mdash; and safest &mdash; treatment plans during the pandemic. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s vital that people who are undergoing cancer treatment in the era of COVID-19 have conversations with their oncologists. The U.S. Surgeon General has recommended that many elective surgeries be canceled, but very often, cancer surgeries are not elective, says David Cohn, MD, chief medical officer for The James. &ldquo;Likewise, chemotherapy treatments and radiation therapies that are necessary to improve patients&rsquo; chances of survival or their quality of life are in general continuing.&rdquo; Get comprehensive information on COVID-19 and cancer &mdash; including important information and tips on nutrition, exercise and risk reduction &mdash; from OSUCCC &ndash; James experts.