• Certain cancer patients are more at risk of dying from COVID-19 compared to others
  • Cancer patients with hematologic malignancies are at an increased risk
  • Cancer patients who have undergone surgeries have a higher death risk

People fighting cancer- especially blood or lung malignancies or tumors that spread throughout the body, have a higher risk of death and severe complications from COVID-19 reported a recent study.

Given the fact that cancer patients are usually more vulnerable to infections and the researchers sought to analyze diverse cohorts of cancer patients with COVID-19.

They conducted a multi-center study that included over 100 cancer patients infected with the coronavirus infection and 536 COVID-19 patients in the same age group. The findings revealed that those with the following types of cancer were at a high risk of death and severe complications from COVID-19:

  • Hematological cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Metastatic lung cancer (Stage IV)
  • Cancer patients who underwent surgery

Cancer patients are more susceptible to infections like COVID-19 due to several reasons. Cancer itself can depress the immune system and most of them might be older- which can be another main risk factor of COVID-19 complications.

Blood cancers including lymphoma, leukemia, and myeloma attack a person’s immune system and reduce their natural defenses, making them prone to severe infections.

Lung cancer patients suffer from reduced lung functions and that could make them more vulnerable to respiratory infections like COVID-19. Also, treatment options such as surgery and chemotherapy are more likely to suppress their immune system.

The findings also showed that cancer patients who had completed their treatment were at a higher risk of serious complications due to the coronavirus infection compared to people without cancer. And those with early-stage cancer including those with localized malignancies had COVID-19 complications risks similar to that of non-cancer patients.

“Our findings emphasize the need to prevent cancer patients from contracting COVID-19 and -- if they do -- to identify and closely monitor these individuals for dangerous symptoms," Live Mint quoted Vikas Mehta, the study’s co-author.

The study also revealed that non-metastatic cancer patients experienced the same frequencies of severe complications in COVID-19 patients without cancer. And those cancer patients treated with the only radiotherapy did not demonstrate significant differences in complications compared to those without cancer.

Cancer type and stage indicated who were at a higher risk of developing COVID-19-related complications. The study mentioned that those with hematological malignancies and metastatic cancer were at an increased risk of ICU admission, invasive mechanical ventilation, critical illness, and death.

“These findings indicate that cancer patients appear more vulnerable to SARS-COV-2 outbreak,” concluded the study published in Cancer Discovery.

cancer and coronavirus how to stay safe
cancer and coronavirus how to stay safe PDPics - Pixabay