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Covid itself is hazardous to human life and things get worse when a cancer patient gets infected with the Covid-19 virus. Hence, extra care should be taken if you are suffering from cancer as having Covid increases the risk of severe illness. The reason is that cancer patients are immunocompromised, hence they have a lower capacity to fight back against the virus, making the body prone to severe infection that makes the condition worse. Other than this, certain factors increase the risk of life which includes: a weak immune system, old age, heart diseases, heart attack and diabetes. Exposure to the Covid-19 virus also increases the chances of complications due to immunosuppression after Chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery. Studies have also shown that people with cancer have a higher risk of prolonged infection and death from Covid-19 and generally, this is observed in the majority of blood cancers than solid tumors i.e, Abdominal Cancers.

Hence, there are certain precautions that Cancer Patients should undertake to safeguard themselves from the risk of Covid-19 infection.

1. Wear a well fitting mask that covers the mouth and nose

2. Stay at least 6 feet away from people

3. Covid-19 vaccination

4. Avoid crowds & poorly ventilated indoor spaces

5. Wash your hands with soap/water or use sanitizer

6. Cover coughs and sneezes

7. Clean & disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily

8. Be alert for the symptoms of covid-19

9. If exposed to the covid-19 patient or have symptoms of this infection- Isolate yourself, consult a health care provider, get tested for coronavirus

 

Vaccination is the major precaution that one can take to safeguard themselves from Covid-19 infection but there are different arguments on Covid-19 Vaccination for Cancer Patients. Hence, the following points should be considered before going for Vaccination.

1. One can go for vaccination if no contraindication like the history of severe allergic reaction is found to any of the components of the vaccine

2. One should consult a doctor if he/she has recently taken chemotherapy to check whether your immune system has recovered before vaccination or not.

3. The safety and efficacy of vaccine are similar in cancer patients like that in normal people without any underlying disease

4. Due to immunosuppression, it might be possible that cancer patients have a weaker response to the vaccine.

5. Even after vaccination, people should adhere to all the Covid-19 guidelines to protect themselves from Covid-19 exposure.

 

Cancer patients who are on maintenance therapy or follow-up have a lesser risk of life due to covid than people who are on active treatment or recently diagnosed with Cancer. Thus, teleconsultations can be opted for regular checkups, consultations or screening during covid times. Importantly, chemotherapy is the part that should not be skipped. So, one should maintain the chemotherapy cycle with utmost care and precaution and make sure that the gap between 2 cycles must not exceed 3 months.

 

Here are some of the statistics of Cancer Patients with Covid-19 infection across the world that will help you understand the situation better:

1. UK study- in 900 cancer patients with covid-19 infection - mortality rate significantly higher than the rate in the general population

2. German study- >1100 patients, asymptomatic infections did not impact the outcomes of further treatment like chemotherapy

3. Austrian study- cancer patients on treatment did not found to have a severe form of covid-19

4. Also, the mortality in asymptomatic covid-19 positive patients with cancer was similar to that in patients who tested negative for the virus (1%)

5. Patients who had received systemic therapy within 1-3 months prior to covid-19 diagnosis had higher rates of covid-19 related complications and deaths

6. If a cancer patient contracts covid-19 infection there may be higher chances of severe complications due to infection ( especially in patients with lower immunity)

7. All cancer patients are not immuno-compromised

8. For around 7 days after getting chemotherapy patient's immune system will be suppressed and it recovers within the next 3 weeks

 

Hence, looking at the severity of the disease and complications, cancer patients need to take extra care and precautions to reduce the risk of life and stay strong with a positive mindset to fight this tough time.

 

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