HJAR May/Jun 2021

16 MAY / JUN 2021 I  HEALTHCARE JOURNAL OF ARKANSAS CANCER Cancer. Theword is scary. Especiallywhen you or someone you love are on the receiving end of it. It is said, there are hundreds of kinds of it and one-in-three of us will be on the receiving end of that word. Yes, that is the “look to your left, now look to your right” moment when you realize statistically, one of you will hear those words directed to you. Oncology is one of those specialties that seems to put into perspective our place in the universe, the wonder of the human body and our impact on stopping an uninvited invasion that can or is destroying the host. Cancer can make for difficult conversations as the shell-shocked listen. It has the ability to suspend time. Cancer broadens our consciousness. It makes us aware of our mortality. COVID-19, or at least our social response to it, has done some of the same. SARS-CoV-2 is an uninvited intruder that can devastate the host. The urgency of fighting COVID-19 seems, in some places, like some forms of cancer treatment, where one might question if the potential cure is worse than the disease. And cancer, unlike the flu, didn’t stop with this pandemic. It has thrived with COVID-19. One might wonder if those telltale spikes of that virus just might emit an undetected poison — fear — which has wreaked havoc on our cortisol levels. Our entire society has been in a “fight or flight” mode usually reserved for those diagnosed with a life-altering disease or event. Due to these society-wide COVID-19 fears, many procedures have been delayed and diagnoses missed. We thought wewould askCARTI, some of Arkansas’ front-line oncology experts, their thoughts on battling two fronts — CANCER and COVID-19.