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Current Affairs

Cancer and severe Covid-19

Date: 24 July 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

New research has examined the relationship between cancer and Covid-19. It has found that cancer patients diagnosed more than 24 months ago are more likely to have a severe Covid-19 infection.

 

Background

The study examined 156 cancer patients who were diagnosed with COVID between February 29 and May 12. Of these patients, 82% mild or moderate Covid-19 infection and 18% had severe disease.

 

Details

  • Using advanced statistical methods, the researchers associated their demographic and clinical characteristics with Covid-19 severity or death.

  • In follow-ups 37 days later, 22% of the patients were found to have died. Patients with Asian ethnicity, palliative treatment, or a diagnosis of cancer more than 24 months before the onset of Covid-19 symptoms were at higher risk of dying.

  • Patients who had dyspnoea (shortness of breath) or high CRP levels (a common blood marker of inflammation) were also at higher risk of dying from Covid-19.

  • Severe Covid-19 infection was associated with presenting with fever, dyspnoea, gastrointestinal symptoms or a diagnosis of cancer more than 24 months previously.

  • Most patients in the study cohort were male, from a lower socio-economic background; half were white, 22% black and 4% Asian.

  • Hypertension was the most reported comorbidity followed by diabetes, renal impairment and cardiovascular disease.

  • The most common tumour types were urological/gynaecological (29%), haematological (18%), and breast (15%). When classified according to Covid-19 severity, the largest proportion of cancers was haematological (36%).