NC oncologists are uniting for better treatment when disaster strikes


WILMINGTON,NC (WWAY) — Hurricane season poses a potential threat to health care services. Saturday, industry leaders met in Wilmington for a symposium dedicated to finding solutions when hurricanes disrupt a cancer patients therapy.

Radiation scientists and emergency management specialists found Hurricane Florence posed many technology and transportation barriers.

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“In order to receive radiation treatment and most medical care, you need electricity,” Dr, Matt Manning, the interim Chief of Oncology for Cone Health said. “You need transportation and you need access to your own home and family support. Hurricane Florence uncovered all those issues for us.”

He says cancer patients undergoing daily radiation treatment are one of the most vulnerable populations during a natural disaster.

“If you plan to give someone 6 weeks of daily radiation treatment and there is an interruption in treatment, their cancer cells begin to recover, regrow and repopulate,” Manning said. “That can lead to a worsened outcome and maybe a worsened survival.”

Manning says the goal of the symposium was to establish a statewide network of care that’s prepared for disasters.