Studies found that cancer patients are twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than the general population. The coronavirus is a virus that causes an illness called COVID-19 which can affect your lungs and airways. For most of the people, it doesn’t cause any serious complications. But for people with low immunity power can cause more complications and even lead to death. Cancer patients have low and weak immunity power and have a high risk of complications.
People With Cancer Are More Likely To Die From COVID-19
The immune system acts as a protecting layer of our body and acts against illness and infection caused by viruses like coronavirus. But people with other serious conditions like cancer have a weak immunity system and this reduces their ability to fight against such viruses. According to a study published in The Lancet on Thursday, the death cancer patients having effected by COVID-19 is for the same basic reasons such as older age, male gender, smoking history, and other health problems. To date, around 6% of COVID-19 diagnosed patients have died, and among that 13% are cancer patients.
The study was intended to better understand the extra risks that cancer patients may face due to COVID-19 and to help them to provide proper treatment said co-author Toni Choueiri, a genitourinary oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. The authors looked at how many people died within 30days of being diagnosed with COVID-19.
The team also found that advanced age, male sex, the presence of two or more underlying conditions, and former smoking status were all also tied to increased risk of death. But the receipt of chemotherapy or other anti-cancer therapies within four weeks of COVID-19 diagnosis did not affect mortality outcomes. “Taken together, these results suggest that fit patients with cancer and few comorbidities can and should proceed with appropriate anti-cancer treatment. But those who have poor daily life functionality or cancer which is progressing, need to have thoughtful conversations with their oncology providers about risk versus benefit of anti-cancer treatment,” said Choueiri.
Weak Immune System and COVID-19 Death
The new study also found that people with cancer treatment are more vulnerable to catch COVID-19. The Lancet study was conducted by looking at 928 cancer patients who diagnosed COVID-19 in the United States, Canada, and Spain.
“Even in sick young patients compared to healthy old, the healthy old do worse,” Choueiri said. Among the study participants, 20% had breast cancer and 16% had prostate cancer. But researchers don’t found any connection between the type of cancer and death rate. Patients with lung cancer are at higher risk because of their smoking history and they have other serious lung conditions in addition to cancer.
“Funding for the study was largely provided by the National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society. Future studies looking at more patients will help improve treatment for cancer patients with COVID-19,” Choueiri said. But the link between a weak immune system and COVID-19 death becomes unclear. Researches in China found that tamping down the immune system might help patients whose immune system seems to overact dangerously to the virus.
This immune system overaction in many people who suffer the worst effects of COVID-19 destroys their own organs. “In general, what we’re seeing is that transplant patients and, in particular, kidney and liver transplant patients are doing significantly worse once they contract COVID-19 than the general population,” said Robert Montgomery, a transplant surgeon at NYU Langone Health in New York City. The paper also suggests that the drug combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin may cause a three-fold greater risk of death.