Patients with blood and lung cancers are three times more likely to die from coronavirus than people with other tumors, research shows
- Researchers looked at coronavirus patients with multiple cancers compared to coronavirus patients without tumors
- People with blood and lung cancers are three times more likely to die from the virus than patients with other tumors
- Blood cancers in particular affect the immune system and make people more susceptible to serious infections and death
- Here’s how you can help people affected by Covid-19
Patients with certain cancers are at a greater risk of dying from the new coronavirus than those with other cancers, a new study suggests.
Researchers found that people with blood and lung cancers are three times more likely to die from the virus than patients with other tumors.
In addition, compared to patients without cancer, cancer patients were more often admitted to intensive care or required mechanical ventilation.
The team, led by Wuhan University’s Zhongnan Hospital, says the findings could help doctors closely monitor cancer patients so that they can treat them well once they test positive and the risk of being hospitalized reduces.
A new study found that people with blood and lung cancers are three times more likely to die from coronavirus compared to patients with other tumors (above)
Also at greatest risk: people with stage IV cancer, meaning the cancer has spread to other organs or parts of the body (above with regard to lung cancer)
Cancer patients – compared to patients without cancer – were more often admitted to intensive care units or required mechanical ventilation (see above)
For the study, published in the online journal American Association for Cancer Research – Cancer Discovery, the team looked at patients from 14 hospitals in Wuhan, China – where the virus came from.
Data came from 105 cancer patients and 536 non-cancer patients, all of whom were the same age and had coronavirus.
Risk factors included the type of cancer, the stage of the cancer and the patients being treated, such as chemotherapy.
Unsurprisingly, cancer patients with coronavirus had a higher risk of being admitted to ICU, with at least severe symptoms, or having to ventilate.
However, those with blood and lung cancer at any stage were more likely to die from COVID-19, the virus-caused disease, than those with other cancers.
Also at greatest risk: people with stage IV cancer, which means the cancer has spread to other organs or parts of the body.
Regarding treatment, patients undergoing immunotherapy and surgery had a higher risk developing critical symptoms and death compared to other therapies.
Radiotherapy alone did not show significant differences in so-called “serious events” compared to people without cancer.
COVID-19 cancer patients also had an average longer hospital stay of 27 days compared to approximately 18 days for coronavirus patients without cancer.
“These findings indicate that cancer patients appear more vulnerable to a SARS-COV-2 outbreak,” the authors wrote.
Blood cancers in particular affect the immune system and make people more susceptible to serious infections and death. Pictured: A nurse feeds a COVID-19 patient at Stamford Hospital ICU in Stamford, Connecticut, April 24
“Since this is the first major cohort study on the subject, our report will provide much-needed information that will benefit global cancer patients.”
It’s not clear why people with blood cancer have a higher death rate, but the team suggests that these patients have a more compromised immune system than those with solid tumors.
In addition, cancers, including leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma, attack the immune system, which reduces the number of immune cells and makes people more susceptible to serious infections and death.
These patients are also usually older, which is another risk factor.
In the U.S., there are currently more than 1.01 million confirmed cases of the virus and more than 56,000 deaths.