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Cancer Patients More Likely to get Severe Covid-19: Researchers

Patients diagnosed with cancer over 24 months before the onset of Covid-19 symptoms are at higher risk

People diagnosed with cancer more than 24 months ago are more likely to get severe Covid-19 infection, according to researchers. For the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Oncology, the researchers analysed the case of 156 cancer patients with confirmed Covid-19 diagnosis in London.

“Our findings provide the first insight into the possible effects of cancer and its treatments on Covid-19 outcomes,” said study researcher Mieke Van Hemelrijck from King’s College London, the UK.

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Advanced statistical methods were employed to identify which demographic or clinical characteristics were associated with Covid-19 severity or death.

Patient follow-ups, conducted 37 days later, found 22 per cent patients from the cohort died from Covid-19 infection. Patients of the Asian ethnicity and those diagnosed with cancer over 24 months before the onset of Covid-19 symptoms were at higher risk.

Cancer patients at greater risk of severe Covid-19: Study
Patients with dyspnoea (shortness of breath) were also at higher risk from Covid-19. Pixabay

Patients with dyspnoea (shortness of breath) or high CRP levels (a common blood marker of inflammation) were also at higher risk from Covid-19. Severe Covid-19 infection was associated with fever, dyspnoea, gastro-intestinal symptoms or those with cancer.

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Hypertension was the most reported co-morbidity followed by diabetes, renal impairment and cardiovascular disease. The most common tumour types were urological/gynaecological (29 per cent), haematological (18 per cent) and breast (15 per cent).

When classified according to the Covid-19 severity, the largest proportion of cancers were haematological (36 per cent). While 40 per cent patients had stage IV cancer, 46 per cent patients had been diagnosed with a malignancy in the last 12 months.

“Large studies with detailed information on Covid-19 safety measures and oncological care are warranted to explore the intersection of Covid-19 and cancer in terms of clinical outcomes,” Hemelrijck said. (IANS)

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