How are cancer and COVID-19 related?

How are cancer and COVID-19 related

Ever since the COVID-19-pandemic broke out in late 2019, almost no one’s life is what it used to be. That said, the pandemic has not made anyone more anxious than those having cancer or their caregivers.

There are a lot of misconceptions floating around the link between cancer and COVID-19. That’s why we have decided to write this blog to throw light on the connection between cancer and COVID-19.

Does COVID-19 increase the mortality rate for cancer patients? Understandably, this is the biggest concern for cancer patients. After the outbreak of COVID-19, a few studies indicated that COVID-19 might increase the mortality rate in cancer patients. But more recent research, which considered 928 patients from the US, Spain, and Canada, found no increase in the risk of death due to COVID-19 in cancer patients.

Further research, which included a sample size of 423 patients with symptomatic COVID-19, found that chemotherapy, cancer surgery, or even metastatic cancer are not associated with a higher mortality rate. This shows no linear and direct relationship between COVID-19 and cancer.

This is because the progression of both COVID-19 and cancer depends upon multiple factors, including the type of cancer, stage and grade of cancer, a patient’s immune system and overall health condition, state of mental health, the overall environment of the house, quality of care given by the medical team and family members, etc.

Are people with cancer more likely to get severe illnesses due to COVID-19? That’s a very valid question. Although it’s unfortunate, we must accept that COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon. New variants of this virus are likely to appear soon. As a result, hospitals have to dedicate a lot of their staff and infrastructure to COVID-19 care. At the same time, there’s always a probability of getting COVID-19 in hospitals.

Therefore, a question arises: Should people get cancer screening done in COVID-19 times? It’s important to understand that many screening tests are recommended for people who don’t have any symptoms of cancer.

If someone has cancer symptoms, like a lump in a breast or blood in stool, those tests fall in a different category. Typically, such tests should happen as soon as possible because the probability of having cancer in such cases is higher than those who don’t have any symptoms.

When the probability of getting cancer is higher, doctors prefer to start treatment as early as they can to curb the progression of the disease. Now, let’s get back to screening tests for those who don’t have cancer symptoms. In such cases, it’s best to ask your doctor whether you can wait and get the tests done later or get them done sooner.

How safe is it to get cancer screening done in the COVID-19 times? Although it’s unfortunate, we have to accept that COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon. New variants of this virus will likely appear in the near future. As a result, hospitals have to dedicate a lot of their staff and infrastructure to COVID-19 care. At the same time, there’s always a probability of getting COVID-19 in hospitals.

Therefore, a question arises: Should people get cancer screening done in COVID-19 times? It’s important to understand that a lot of screening tests are recommended for people who don’t have any symptoms of cancer.

If someone has cancer symptoms, like a lump in a breast or blood in stool, then those tests fall in a different category. Typically, such tests should happen as soon as possible because the probability of having cancer in such cases is higher than those people who don’t have any symptoms.

When the probability of getting cancer is higher, doctors prefer to start treatment as early as they can to curb the progression of the disease. Now, let’s get back to screening tests for those who don’t have cancer symptoms. In such cases, it’s best to ask your doctor whether you can wait and get the tests done later or get them done sooner.

In case you go to a hospital or care centre for a cancer-related test or, for that matter, any other test, ensure the following:

  • You should be screened for COVID-19 before going for the screening for cancer.
  • Check whether patients and attendants are maintaining the minimum physical distance between each other at the screening center or not.
  • Do check with hospital staff about the procedures they use to disinfect their equipment and surface areas.
  • Everyone at a hospital or care center should be wearing a mask. If a test requires that the mask be removed, it can be done. Otherwise, everyone should be wearing a mask.
  • Also, check if there’s a hand sanitizer or liquid soap to clean your hands regularly.

Can Telehealth or Telemedicine be used in COVID-19 times?


How are cancer and COVID-19 related.

Of course, yes. If you’re a cancer patient, telehealth is a great way to interact with a doctor because it prevents you from going to the hospital, which may increase the probability of getting COVID-19.

Often, a patient isn’t required to visit a hospital during cancer treatment physically to clear any doubts with the help of a doctor. Therefore, it makes a lot more sense to reach out to a doctor using a phone call, Whatsapp, Skype, etc.

Before the outbreak of COVID-19, many experts had tried promoting telehealth for medical purposes with little or no success. Those days patients preferred meeting their doctors by physically going to the hospital.

But in the COVID-19 phase, as the risk of getting an infection is considerably higher, patients prefer speaking to a doctor on the phone without going to a hospital. Therefore, telehealth is the way for cancer patients and anyone needing medical assistance regularly.

Should cancer patients get vaccinated for COVID-19? In most cases, cancer patients can get vaccinated for COVID-19. Research on cancer and COVID-19 says that most people with medical conditions, including cancer, should get vaccinated. However, we’d still advise you to speak to a doctor if either you or a family member has cancer regarding the COVID-19 vaccination.

For example, suppose you are taking a cancer treatment that has affected your immune system, like chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant, etc. In that case, your doctor may advise you first to let your immune system recover and then get a vaccination for COVID-19.
It could also be that your doctor advises you first to take COVID-19 vaccination, wait for a few weeks, and then go for cancer treatment. It depends upon a case-to-case basis.

In some cases, it has also been observed that a COVID-19 vaccine shot caused temporary swelling in the lymph nodes of a person’s armpit. As this could be mistaken for a sign of breast cancer, oncologists suggest that people wait for 4-6 weeks after getting COVID-19 vaccination to get breast cancer screening done.

There are also cases wherein doctors suggest that a cancer patient take an additional dose of COVID-19. These are those patients whose immune systems are compromised to the extent that they need an extra dose to improve their response to deal with the threat of coronavirus.

In a nutshell, both aspects are important: whether a patient should take COVID-19 vaccination and when it should be taken.

How should the family and caretakers of a cancer patient deal with COVID-19?


How are cancer and COVID-19 related.

In COVID-19 times, the quality of cancer care is essential, particularly the role of a patient’s family and caretakers. First of all, anyone coming in close contact with a cancer patient should get vaccinated for COVID-19. There has to be absolutely no compromise or negligence in this regard.

By not getting a vaccination, you’ll only be exposing your family member, who’s suffering from cancer, to a much greater risk of COVID-19 than otherwise. So, vaccination is essential.

Second, maintain a positive vibe at home, as this will ensure that the cancer patient is in a good state of mind. Dealing with cancer is not easy, but it has become doubly difficult with the outbreak of COVID-19.

As treatment can be long, caregivers need to ensure that a patient is in a good state of mind. Maintaining the highest possible hygiene standards in the house and surrounding areas is recommended.

Ensure that maids, drivers, and any domestic help have vaccinated for COVID-19. If they don’t want to take vaccination for purely financial reasons, it’s good to even pay for their vaccination.

Contact Denvax for cancer-related immunotherapy in COVID-19 times A significant number of cancer patients prefer going for immunotherapy for treatment. It can be taken along with conventional cancer treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, making it easier to combine both kinds of treatments.

medical conditions, including cancer, should get vaccinated. But in the COVID-19 times, such patients may be apprehensive due to preconceived notions. In such a case, it’s recommended to speak to the best doctors. Dr. Jamal A. Khan and Dr. Sharmin Yaqin (founders of Denvax) are helping many cancer patients in India and abroad by answering their questions about the effectiveness of immunotherapy for cancer treatment in COVID-19 times. They have revolutionized cancer treatment by using immunotherapy with the help of cancer-fighting dendritic cells. Dendritic cells refer to immune cells, which improve immune response to fight diseases like cancer. So, if you’re worried about immunotherapy during the COVID-19 phase, do reach out to Denvax. In India, we have clinics in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, and Lucknow.