Information for patients

We have compiled all the important information for patients on this page.
If your question has not been answered, please contact us at our general phone line (+31 (0)20 512 9111) and we will be happy to help you with your questions.  

General guidelines
We are working on increasing the number of chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatments back to the usual amount. Surgeries will proceed as scheduled. Some non-urgent procedures may be postponed. Hospitals throughout the world are sharing their experiences, and we adjust our policies accordingly, if necessary.

General information

Is it safe to visit the Netherlands Cancer Institute?

Yes, it is safe to visit our hospital. We do our best to keep COVID-19 out of our hospital. if we can stay COVID-free, our treatment and procedures can continue as usual.

We take additional precautions to avoid the spread of COVID-19 at our hospital. Do you have an appointment or admission date coming up? You will receive a phone call one day before your visit to the hospital to ask you about potential symptoms of COVID-19. We will assess your symptoms to decide whether your appointment can proceed as usual.

Am I more vulnerable as a cancer patient?

We can safely assume that people with cancer do not face a higher risk of infection with the coronavirus, nor that they face worse symptoms.

We have found that COVID-19 tends to be more serious in people who are 60 years or older, and people who have other health conditions such as cardiovascular problems, lung problems, or high weight. It is vital to keep a social distance of 1.5 meters at all times, wash your hands often, and stay home when experiencing symptoms (fever, coughing, shortness of breath). If you have cancer, please contact your general physician or hospital if you are experiencing symptoms.

I am experiencing anxiety, what can I do?

The coronavirus outbreak can be very stressful, especially now it has been going on for such a long time and we don't know when it will be over. Our day to day lives have changed and activities that give us purpose may be gone. We all respond differently to these changes. Some people may feel anxious or struggle with the uncertainties. This can be extra overwhelming if you are already facing uncertainly when you or your loved one faces the daily threat of cancer. This is a normal response to an abnormal situation. You may face mental, emotional, or existential responses such as loss of control, estrangement, or loneliness, due to the loss of your routine. Some people experience generalized anxiety, comparable to the feelings surrounding the diagnosis, or ongoing tension and alertness and the inability to relax. Other people may feel anger (because treatment has been delayed or adapted) or worried (of getting infected, or loved ones catching the virus)

Our flyer contains several practical tips on how to deal with anxiety and fear:

Are you a patient, or a loved one, and are you struggling with your anxiety? Please contact our Survivorship Center at ondersteuningsconsulent@nki.nl. Our consultants will listen to you and can help you find a way to deal with your current situation. We may refer you for additional psychosocial care.

Do I, my accompanist, or my physician need to wear face masks if I am hard of hearing and rely on lip reading?

If you are deaf or hard of hearing, your health care provider can wear a face shield to allow you to lip-read as normal.

If you cannot wear a face mask due to your health, you can take it off once you are in the consultation room or office. As long as you keep a social distance of 1.5 meters at all times. You are welcome to use a face shield if you have one.

If you are bringing a patient accompanist, please make sure that he or she wears a face mask for the duration of the visit. He or she is welcome to wear a face shield as well.

Information about treatments

Is treatment postponed?

Treatment will proceed as normal, but we will take additional precautions: fewer people at the clinic, more phone or video consultations, fewer visitors, and patient accompanists. We ask people coming in for diagnostic tests to tell us about any potential symptoms that could match a COVID-19 infection, and we take the temperature of all our visitors.

Treatment or surgery of people with COVID-19 will be postponed. People who may have been infected with COVID-19 may also have their treatment postponed. We will test you to see whether you have COVID-19.

Non-urgent treatment (preventive surgery or cosmetic procedures) may be postponed if they are not essential to the treatment of cancer.

I am or will soon receive treatment (surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy). Is it cancelled?

Treatment (surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy) can continue. We will contact you one day before your appointment to ask whether you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. We will assess whether your appointment can proceed. if necessary, we can take adequate protective measures. Your physician may want to discontinue your treatment. if this is the case for you, please discuss this with your practicing physician.

When is a phone or video consultation a good alternative for a regular consultation at the NKI?

To lower the risk of COVID-19 infection at our hospital, we try to keep the numbers of patients at our hospital as low as possible. Whenever possible, we will offer patients phone consultations instead of in-person consultations. We can opt for long-distance consultations if the patient does not need to be physically present, and if this is logistically possible. These consultations can be used to discuss side effects of the treatment, or to discuss the results of diagnostic testing or the next step in treatment, or to answer patient questions.

Can I still receive treatment as part of a trial?

Yes, most trials at the hospital can proceed as they did before the start of the corona crisis. In some cases, your physician may recommend postponing treatment as part of a trial. If this is the case for you, your physician will discuss your options with you.

Information about hospital facilities

Can I still use the NKI Shuttle Service?

Due to COVID-19, the Shuttle Service is temporarily not running. If you experience trouble walking, your accompanist can drop you off in front of the main entrance of our hospital.

Can I still get food at the restaurant?

Due to our coronavirus policy, you cannot sit and eat at the restaurant. You can still buy a snack, sandwich, or drink as a takeaway. You can find our restaurant at the end of the main hall. Our coffee bar in the same hall is open for business as well. You can buy coffee, tea, or other drinks. There are seats available throughout the hall where you can drink or eat.

Second opinion/ referrals

Can my general practitioner or specialist refer me to the Netherlands Cancer Society?

This is possible, in the same way as before. if you are not currently receiving treatment but want to come in for your yearly screening and you are experiencing symptoms that could be caused by COVID-19, please consult your general practitioner. 

Can I come to the Netherlands Cancer Institute for a second opinion?

Your own specialist or general practitioner can request a second opinion in the same way as before. We currently cannot guarantee that you can come in for a second opinion consultation, however, as we are forced to decline more patients than usual. You can, however, ask your specialist to consult our specialists at the NKI by phone.

Can I transfer my treatment to the NKI?

If treatment at your own hospital is currently not possible, and cannot be postponed, your specialist can consult our specialists at the NKI to see if we can transfer your treatment to our hospital.