What is it about?

COVID-19 has left a mark globally, and some people have been affected more than others. For example, people with cancer are considered to be more susceptible to COVID-19 than others. This is because the presence of cancer and its treatment reduce the immunity of patients. This puts them at a higher risk of developing infections. To understand this better, previous studies have looked at the connection between cancer and COVID-19. But, their results were not reliable. Now, researchers from Spain and the US conducted a study to find out more. The team surveyed eight routinely collected healthcare databases from both countries between March and October 2020. From these databases, they selected patients with a history of cancer and COVID-19. They grouped the patients into (1) those with a history of cancer and who were hospitalized with COVID-19, (2) those who had cancer in the past and were COVID positive, and (3) those who suffered from cancer and were hospitalized with seasonal flu in 2017-18. In these patient groups, they studied the common types of cancer, other co-existing diseases, and their effects.

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Why is it important?

Most patients were above 65 years and had multiple co-existing diseases and severe COVID-19 effects. Prostate and breast cancers were the most common types. Blood cancer also appeared to be common. A type of blood cancer called non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma ranked among the top 5 common ones. What was concerning is that people with blood cancer seemed to be more susceptible to and affected by COVID-19. The death rate was higher in the hospitalized group. KEY TAKEAWAY: This study shed light on how COVID-19 and cancer affect patients. People with cancer and pre-existing health conditions are more susceptible to the COVID-19 virus and its severe effects. These findings can help safeguard patients with cancer from COVID-19 and providing proper care to them during the pandemic.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Characteristics and Outcomes of Over 300,000 Patients with COVID-19 and History of Cancer in the United States and Spain, Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, July 2021, American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.epi-21-0266.
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