Cancer patients ‘almost three times more likely to die of coronavirus than non-cancer sufferers’ – The Sun

PATIENTS with certain types of cancer are almost three times more likely to die from coronavirus, a study has said.

The research looked at 641 patients at 14 hospitals across China's Hubei province, where the virus first emerged late last year.

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Of those, 105 were cancer patients and 536 were not.

As well as being almost three times more likely to die, the cancer patients were more likely to suffer "severe events" like needing intensive care or to be put on a ventilator.

Particularly at risk were patients with blood or lung cancers or those whose cancers had spread to different parts of the body.

Other factors included the stage of progression of their cancers and the treatment they received.

Patients in whom the disease was not advanced – those with so-called localised cancers – had a similar chance of death to those with no cancer at all.

The study was authored by scientists from China, Singapore, and the US.

It was published in the Cancer Discovery journal and presented at a virtual annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

“These findings suggest that patients with cancer are a much more vulnerable population in the current covid-19 outbreak,” it read.

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Speaking to the Washington Post, J. Leonard Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, said the study was "important".

“[It] reflects what we had heard previously — that cancer patients are more susceptible to the virus, and that the course of the infection is worse and the outcomes are worse," he said.

The only previous study of coronavirus patients also suffering with cancer looked at only 18 people.

Cancer patients are known to be more vulnerable to the virus for several reasons.

They are typically in older age groups, meaning they would be more likely to die from the virus even without the cancer.

Blood cancers like leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma also attack the immune system, leaving a patients body less able to defend itself from infections.

Common cancer treatments like chemotherapy also damage the immune system.

Lung cancer patients were more vulnerable because coronavirus impacts lung function.

The coronavirus has infected more than 3.1million people worldwide and killed almost 220,000 since breaking out in December.

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