Cancer patients at higher risk of dying from COVID-19, the study shows
Cancer patients at higher risk of dying from COVID-19, the study shows

Cancer patients at higher risk of dying from COVID-19, the study shows

Cancer patients may be at higher risk of dying from COVID-19, regardless of whether they receive chemotherapy at the time of their infection, a new study has found. Photo of Klbz /Pixabay

February 21 (UPI) – People with cancer are more likely to suffer from serious illness and die from COVID-19 than others infected with the virus, a study published Monday by JAMA Network Open found.

This applies to those who undergo chemotherapy when infected, as well as those who are not actively treated for their cancers, the researchers said.

Those diagnosed with acute leukemia or myelodysplastic syndrome had twice the risk of dying from COVID-19 compared to people without these cancers, the data showed.

Patients with myeloma or plasmacytoma at the time of COVID-19 infection had a more than 50% higher risk of dying from the virus, as did those with lung cancer, according to the researchers.

“Patients with cancer had poorer COVID-19 scores than other people with COVID-19,” wrote researchers from several academic hospitals in the UK.

“Such a difference in outcomes may be associated with [patient] age, gender, comorbidities and cancer subtype rather than anticancer treatments, “they said.

Comorbidities are other, often chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease or type 2 diabetes, that can affect a person’s overall health.

The results are based on an analysis of more than 2,500 adults with cancer from 69 hospitals in the UK, the researchers said.

The study was conducted in 2020, meaning that all participants had been infected with previous variants of the virus and none of them had been vaccinated.

Those with blood and bone marrow cancer such as leukemias, myelodysplastic syndrome, myeloma and plasmacytoma had a higher risk of dying from COVID-19 than others infected with the virus, they said.

Having lung cancer also increased a person’s risk of dying from COVID-19, which as a respiratory virus has a significant effect on lung health, researchers said.

Patients who had undergone chemotherapy for their cancers within four weeks of infection had no higher risk of dying from the virus than others with cancer, they said.

However, those who received immunotherapy, a type of cancer treatment designed to boost the immune system to help the body fight the disease and slow tumor growth, had a 50% lower risk of death at the time of COVID-19 infection, data showed.

Previous studies have suggested that the currently available COVID-19 vaccines may provide less protection for certain cancer patientsand that they are at higher risk life-threatening infection even after vaccination.

“Recent chemotherapy was not associated with all-cause mortality” or death, the researchers said. “Recent immunotherapy was associated with less severe COVID-19 symptoms and lower mortality.”

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