A recent study from China looked at 1590 people infected with the coronavirus and who had COVID-19. Eighteen (18) of these patient had a history of cancer. People who have cancer are immunosuppressed, and are therefore more susceptible to infection than those without cancer. Immunosuppression is caused by the cancer and its treatment. Patients with a history of cancer and COVID-19 had a higher risk of intensive care admission requiring ventilation and a higher risk of death compared with COVID-19 patients without cancer. The patients who had chemotherapy or surgery in the previous month had a higher risk of clinically severe events than those who did not.

In conclusion, the researchers recommend the following actions:

  • Postponing of adjuvant chemotherapy or elective surgery for patients with stable cancer
  • Improving personal protection for cancer patients or cancer survivors
  • More aggressive monitoring and treatment when patients with cancer become infected with coronavirus COVID-19.

Read more in The Lancet Oncology here