24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
(800)421-8825
Fax: (361)578-5500

Medical Disorders
Resources
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
Multiple Surgeries for Cleft Lip, Palate Won't Cause Major Psychological DamageHIV May Not Worsen COVID-19 OutlookU.S. Coronavirus Hospitalizations Spiking in South, WestAHA News: To Everything There Is a Season, Including Heart DiseaseAsthma, Allergies Plus Pandemic May Pose 4th of July ChallengesStroke Appears 8 Times More Likely With COVID Than With FluCOVID-19 Death Risk Twice as High in New York City as Some CountriesFireworks Are Bad News for Your LungsScientists Find Source of COVID ClotsNew U.S. Coronavirus Cases Top 50,000 as More States Slow Reopening PlansNumbers of Non-COVID-19 Deaths Up During PandemicNo Good Evidence on Accuracy of Coronavirus Antibody Tests: StudyAHA News: COVID-19 Pandemic Brings New Concerns About Excessive DrinkingMuscle Relaxants for Back Pain Are Soaring: Are They Safe?Trauma of Racism Fuels High Blood Pressure Among Black Americans: StudyCOVID-19 Blood Test Might Predict Who Will Need a VentilatorWhat's the Best DIY Face Mask Against COVID-19?Deep Brain Stimulation May Slow Parkinson's, Study FindsU.S. Could See 100,000 New Cases of COVID-19 Each Day, Fauci SaysGlobally, COVID-19 Cases May Stretch Far Beyond Official Numbers: StudyFBI: Beware of Scammers Selling Fake COVID-19 Antibody TestsAHA News: Sadness and Isolation of Pandemic Can Make Coping With Grief HarderVaping-Related Lung Injuries Still Happening -- And May Look Like COVID-19Most With Coronavirus Not Sure How They Caught It: CDCDon't Get Sick While Swimming This SummerAmid Pandemic, Too Many Americans Are Hesitating to Call 911Mask Up! Don't Let Down Your Guard Against COVID-19Wildfire Smoke Causes Rapid Damage to Your Health: StudyCOVID Drug Remdesivir Could Cost Up to $3,120 Per Patient, Maker SaysIntestinal Illness Spurs Recall of Bagged Salads Sold at Walmart, AldiCOVID Threatens the 3 out of 4 Americans Who Can't Work From HomeHispanic Americans Being Hit Hard By COVID-19Global Coronavirus Cases Pass 10 Million as U.S. Struggles With Surge in InfectionsStarted Early, Drug Combo Eases Fatigue of Rheumatoid Arthritis: StudyIs 'Pooled' Coronavirus Testing the Next Step for America?U.S. Coronavirus Task Force Warns of Rising Case Numbers, Especially Among YoungWho's at Highest Risk From COVID-19? CDC Updates Its ListStroke, Confusion: COVID-19 Often Impacts the Brain, Study ShowsPromising Results Mean Coronavirus Vaccine Trial Could Start by AugustWhen Can Sports Fans Safely Fill Stadiums Again?Coronavirus Baby Boom? Survey Says Maybe NotCOVID-19 Typically Mild for Babies: StudyU.S. Reports Record Rise in New Coronavirus CasesAHA News: COVID-19 Highlights Long-Term Inequities in Some CommunitiesHow the Saharan Dust Plume Could Make Your Allergies WorseAmid Pandemic, Fears That Older Americans Are Feeling 'Expendable''The Lockdowns Worked,' Experts Say, But Did America Reopen Too Soon?Asymptomatic Coronavirus Carriers Can Shed Virus on Surfaces: StudyVaccine Might Guard Against Bacteria That Cause Diarrhea in KidsOne-Time Treatment Eases Parkinson's -- in Mice
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Diabetes

COVID-19 May Force Some Cancer Patients to Delay Treatment

HealthDay News
by By E.J. Mundell
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Mar 25th 2020

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, March 25, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Early findings involving cancer patients from Wuhan, China -- the original epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic -- suggest that many contracted the coronavirus while undergoing treatment in the hospital.

That could mean that this vulnerable population might need to discuss delaying cancer care to help minimize their odds of infection, the study authors said.

"We propose that aggressive measures be undertaken to reduce frequency of hospital visits of patients with cancer during a viral epidemic going forward," wrote a team led by Dr. Conghua Xie, of the department of radiation and medical oncology at Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University.

The research, which focused on 12 cancer patients treated at the hospital in January and February, was published March 25 in the journal JAMA Oncology.

It's long been understood that cancer, as well as its therapies, have the unfortunate side effect of weakening a patient's immune system. That can leave a patient more vulnerable to infectious illness, including COVID-19.

In the new study, Xie's team tracked infection incidence among more than 1,500 patients with cancer admitted to Zhongnan Hospital.

Twelve of those patients were later diagnosed with COVID-19, and the infection rate of the cancer patients was more than double that of the general population of Wuhan.

That's probably because people with cancer are often "immunocompromised," Xie's group wrote, and many may contract the new coronavirus during visits to the hospital for cancer care.

As seen in the general population, the risk of developing COVID-19 among cancer patients tended to rise with age: eight of 12 patients were over 60. Seven patients had lung cancer.

Three of the patients -- two with lung cancer, another with pancreatic cancer -- went on to develop severe COVID-19 requiring ICU care. All three died.

Of the remaining nine patients, six have recovered and have been discharged from the hospital, the team said.

According to the researchers, the take-home message from this small, early study is that during the COVID-19 pandemic, decisions may need to be made on curtailing cancer care. And if patients do require in-hospital treatment, "proper isolation protocols must be in place to mitigate the risk of [viral] infection," they said.

Three cancer specialists in the United States who reviewed the report agreed that cancer treatment may require patient-doctor discussions at this time.

Amy Moore directs science and research at the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer in Washington, D.C. She believes that lung cancer patients, especially, "may have elevated risk [of coronavirus infection] compared to other cancer types."

Also, Moore said, "hospital admissions and recurrent visits increase risk, reinforcing the importance of patients talking to their physicians regarding their own personal treatment plan."

Dr. Wasif Saif is medical director at the Northwell Health Cancer Institute in Lake Success, N.Y. He stressed that the study population was very small, so the findings must be considered preliminary. But certain patterns emerged.

"Cancer patients were deemed to be at highest risk for severe complications, including admission to the intensive care unit requiring invasive ventilation, or death," Saif noted. "Additionally, diagnosis of cancer was associated with a shorter time to development of severe events when compared to non-cancer patients."

Because hospitals are especially potent venues for coronavirus infection, Saif believes that "tough decisions have to be made during this COVID-19 crisis whether to delay [cancer] treatment or simplify the treatment."

But Dr. Adil Akhtar, director of inpatient clinical operations at Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Oakland in Pontiac, Mich., took a slightly different view.

He agreed that cancer patients appear to be at higher odds of coronavirus infection, but added that "cancer programs across the U.S. have already implemented robust infection and environmental controls, as per the [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines."

Akhtar added that, as per guidelines from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, at this time "there is no direct evidence to support changing or withholding chemotherapy or immunotherapy in patients with cancer."

He believes it's tough to determine, on an individual patient basis, whether the risk of contracting COVID-19 outweighs the benefit to be gained from continued cancer care.

So "clinical decisions should be individualized that consider factors such as the risk of cancer recurrence if therapy is delayed, modified or interrupted; the number of cycles of therapy already completed, and the patient's tolerance of treatment," Akhtar said.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on the new coronavirus.