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Scientists determine which cancer worsens COVID-19 outcomes the most

COVID-19 is bothering people unevenly. Some people are facing a higher risk of complications than others. For example, older people usually experience more difficult symptoms of the disease. Now a new study by the Universities of Oxford and Birmingham pointed out that patients with blood cancers are more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19 than people with other types of cancer.

People battling blood cancer should be extremely careful during this COVID-19 pandemic. Image credit: Sionk via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

COVID-19 didn’t make all the other diseases and health conditions disappear. In fact, they are as dangerous as ever. For example, cancer treatment absolutely must go on even in the midst of the global pandemic. However, hospitals often become places where you are more likely to be exposed to the dangerous infection. This is why it is important to understand the different levels of risk that people with different health conditions are facing.

Scientists analysed data from more than 60 cancer centres across the UK and accounted for  age, gender and tumour type. Researchers found that patients with haematological cancers, particularly older patients and those with leukaemia, had a 57 % higher risk of harder COVID-19 symptoms than those with solid organ tumours. Scientists were able to determine that cancer patients over the age of 80 found to have the highest frequency of fatality. This information, proving that blood cancer contributes to a more severe trajectory of the COVID -19 disease will help scientists and clinicians to risk tables for different cancer types, which will help them choose the best way to treat each person’s cancer during the global pandemic.

Obviously, COVID-19 took everyone by storm. Many people felt overwhelmed with increasingly bad news about this disease and the way it spreads. However, at the same time scientists were able to collect an astonishing amount of data very quickly, which will help us fight this disease in the future. Jean-Baptiste Cazier, one of the authors of this study, said: “This study demonstrates the power of considering patients in the specificity of their condition. We have been able to disentangle the key factors relevant to their situation by integrating detailed information from cancer patients with Covid-19 from across the UK. In turn we are able to help oncologists better inform their patients about their particular risks”.

Scientists say that this study should influence the way blood cancer patients are treated. Their treatment has to continue even during the worst times in this pandemic. However, at the same time it is important to maintain a high standard of cleanliness, social distance and other important measures. People with blood cancer should put a lot of effort into protecting themselves too, because their immune system has been compromised by the disease and its treatment.


Source: University of Birmingham

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