Coronavirus kills one in five cancer patients, research shows

Patient cases from across Europe, America and China, and different malignancy types and age ranges, are represented in the findings.

The most elevated coronavirus mortality correlation was associated with blood cancers, according to the research authors. Patients from that group were shown to have a 65.8 per cent chance of survival if they contracted the coronavirus. Lung cancer patient data, meanwhile, demonstrated a 67.1 per cent Covid survival rate.

Researchers had access to 3,019 patient records from fifteen international cohort studies.

“The findings are a surprise,” said Justin Stebbing, the study lead and professor of medicine and oncology at Imperial College London. “One in five is the death rate in Covid in cancer – 22.4 per cent. That is a really, really high number. We must take heed.

“The NHS is open and will carry on with cancer treatment, but the lesson from these findings is that we have to prioritise these very vulnerable people.

“A lockdown doesn’t apply to hospitals but it does tend to cause that as an aside. Prioritising virus testing for patients and their care workers, and including these patients in the early rollout phase of vaccines, is what we must now do.”

The research, published this week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI), also suggests that side effects from powerful cancer treatments do not make patients any more vulnerable to Covid than if they had no treatment.

“Interestingly, there was no treatment effect,” Prof Stebbing said.”Chemotherapy, which has scared a lot of people recently, wasn’t associated with worse Covid infections.

“Those undergoing immunotherapy, radiotherapy, or dealing with cancer surgery – all those patients didn’t have a higher death rate. We will continue to seek new data on this to be fully conclusive, but we found no signs of association. Cancer patients must not be afraid to seek treatment.”

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