Patients with blood and lung cancers are three times more at risk of dying of coronavirus than people with other tumors, study finds
- Researchers looked at coronavirus patients with multiple forms of cancer in comparison with coronavirus patients without tumors
- People with blood and lung cancers were at a three-times greater risk of dying from the virus compared patients with other tumors
- Blood cancers, in particular, attack the immune system and leave people more prone to severe infection and death
- Cancer patients with the virus were more likely to be admitted to intensive care units or need mechanical ventilation than non-cancer patients
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Patients with certain cancers are at a greater risk of dying from the novel coronavirus compared to 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 compared patients with other tumors.
Additionally, cancer patients – in comparison to those without cancer – were more likely to be admitted to intensive care units or need mechanical ventilation.
The team, led by Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, says the findings could help doctors closely monitor any patients with cancer so they can properly treat them as soon as they test positive and reduce the risk of them being hospitalized.
A new study has found that people with blood and lung cancers are three times more likely to die from coronavirus compared patients with other tumors (above)
Also at highest risk: people with cancer at stage IV, which means the cancer has spread to other organs or parts of the body (above in regards to lung cancer)
Cancer patients – in comparison to those without cancer – were more likely to be admitted to intensive care units or need mechanical ventilation (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 originated.
Data came from 105 cancer patients and 536 patients who didn’t have cancer -all of whom were the same age and had coronavirus.
Risk factors included the type of cancer, the stage the cancer was in and treatment patients were receiving such as chemotherapy.
Unsurprisingly, cancer patients with coronavirus were at higher risk of being admitted to the ICU, having at least severe symptom or need to go on a ventilator.
However, those with blood and lung cancer at any stage were more likely to die from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, than those with other cancer.
Also at highest risk: people with cancer at stage IV, which means the cancer has spread to other organs or parts of the body.
In regards to treatment, patients undergoing immunotherapy and surgery had higher risks of have developing critical symptoms and death compared to other therapies.
Only radiotherapy did not show significant differences in so-called ‘severe events’ in comparison with people without cancer.
COVID-19 patients with cancer also had a longer average stay in the hospital at 27 days compared to about 18 days for coronavirus patients without cancer.
‘These findings indicate that cancer patients appear more vulnerable to SARS-COV-2 outbreak,’ the authors wrote.
Blood cancers, in particular, attack the immune system and leave people more prone to severe infection and death. Pictured: A nurse feeds a COVID-19 patient at Stamford Hospital’s ICU in Stamford, Connecticut, April 24
‘Since this is the first large cohort study on this topic, our report will provide the much-needed information that will benefit global cancer patients.’
It’s not clear why people with blood cancers have higher death rates, but the team suggests these patients have more compromised immune systems than patients with solid tumors.
Additionally, cancers including leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma attack the immune system, which reduces the number of immune cells and make people more prone to severe infection and death.
These patients also are typically older, which is another risk factor.
In the US, there are currently more than 1.01 million confirmed cases of the virus and more than 56,000 deaths.