- Certain cancer patients are more at risk of dying from COVID-19 than others
- Cancer patients with haematological malignancies are at increased risk
- Cancer patients who have undergone surgery have a higher risk of death
People who fight 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 recent research.
Given the fact that cancer patients are usually more susceptible to infection and researchers are trying to analyze various groups of cancer patients with COVID-19.
They conducted a multi-center study that included more than 100 cancer patients infected with coronavirus infection and 536 COVID-19 patients in the same age group. These findings reveal that those with the following types of cancer are at high risk of death and severe complications from COVID-19:
- Hematological cancer
- Lung cancer
- Metastatic lung cancer (Stage IV)
- Cancer patients who have surgery
Cancer patients are more susceptible to infections such as COVID-19 for several reasons. Cancer itself can suppress the immune system and most of them may be older – which can be a major risk factor for COVID-19 complications.
Blood cancers including lymphoma, leukemia, and myeloma invade a person’s immune system and reduce their natural defenses, making them vulnerable to severe infections.
Lung cancer patients suffer from decreased lung function and that can make them more susceptible to respiratory infections such as COVID-19. Also, treatment options such as surgery and chemotherapy are more likely to suppress their immune system.
This finding also shows that cancer patients who have completed their treatment have a higher risk of experiencing serious complications due to coronavirus infection compared to people who don’t have cancer. And those who suffer from early-stage cancer including those with local malignancies have a risk of COVID-19 complications similar to 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 people for dangerous symptoms,” Live Mint quoted Vikas Mehta, co-author of the study.
The study also revealed that non-metastatic cancer patients experienced the same frequency of complications in COVID-19 patients who did not have cancer. And cancer patients treated with radiotherapy alone did not show significant differences in complications compared to those who did not have cancer.
The type and stage of cancer indicates who is at higher risk of complications associated with COVID-19. The study states that those with haematological malignancies and metastatic cancer are at increased risk of ICU admission, invasive mechanical ventilation, critical illness, and death.
“These findings indicate that cancer patients appear to be more susceptible to the SARS-COV-2 outbreak,” concludes the study published in Cancer Discovery.