A new study explains how the coronavirus outbreak has affected blood cancer patients. The research team from the Queen Mary University of London and Barts Health NHS Trust is the first ever to evaluate risk factors of COVID-19 for cancer patients.
Usually, people with underlying medical conditions such as cancer are at high risk. Those who are at chemo are at triple the risk because of their weak immune system. Not only it brings a higher risk of coronavirus in them but it also makes it hard for them to recover.
The COVID-19 for cancer patients is a big problem because of their ‘immunosuppression’. As to this, the long-term effects of this infection are much more severe than other people, making it hard for cancer patients to recover.
But this new study finds that even if cancer patients undergoing chemo sessions are at high risk, they can still recover if they are otherwise healthy. It means that other than cancer, they have no underlying medical condition.
This study, now published in the British Journal of Haematology, evaluated 35 adult blood cancer patients which were coronavirus positive. They were checked for 14 days. By the end of this period, more than 60% of patients were able to recover from the coronavirus.
The results show that ‘age’ is a significant factor directly related to coronavirus recovery. All of these patients were close to 70 years of age when they got coronavirus. But people who lost their lives to coronavirus had more than one underlying medical conditions i.e. high blood pressure, kidney diseases, diabetes type 2, etc.
Dr. John Riches from the Queen Mary University of London is the principal researcher and lead author of this study. He explains that the purpose of conducting this study was to understand the risk of COVID-19 for cancer patients, especially blood cancer patients.
Although it is just a basic step it would be the first effort to understand the weight of risk of this pandemic on cancer patients. Doctors are advising all the cancer patients to follow all necessary preventive care to reduce interaction with coronavirus.
But this new study tells that the coronavirus risk for younger adults with minor or no underlying medical condition except blood cancer is a lesser risk. The risk of coronavirus on older adults with multiple underlying medical conditions is a lot much higher.
This study also tells that there was apparently a correlation between cancer treatment and health outcomes with COVID-19. It means that the outcomes for blood cancer patients are worse than the general public without cancer, but diagnosed with coronavirus.
The majority of this population would survive if they are infected, the researchers believe. To this day, it is the largest study that has analyzed the risk of COVID-19 for cancer patients, mainly blood cancer patients. However, it needs a large scale confirmation with national and international data to support these findings.