Covid-19: What Cancer Patients Need to Know?


Patients who are already suffering from cancer go through a lot after contracting COVID-19. Here are a few things that cancer patients need to know about coronavirus. 

Are Cancer Patients at a Higher Risk of Getting Covid-19?

Currently, there are no studies showing that there is any relation between COVID-19 and cancer patients. The transmission rate of the deadly coronavirus is already very high irrespective of a cancer diagnosis. But there is a chance that cancer patients are at higher risk as most of the patients have a lack of immunity or low immunity. The study about the relationship between cancer patients and COVID-19 has not been completed yet as coronavirus is a relatively new strain. According to a study, this virus can increase complications in cancer patients due to the already existing infection.

Reasons for the Severity of a Cancer Patient After Contracting COVID-19

During the chemotherapy of a cancer patient, their immune system is weaker than normal most of the time. A person suffering from cancer is more likely to experience more complications of the disease once they are affected by any kind of virus. The severity of a cancer patient after contracting COVID-19 is based on many factors, including the type of cancer & patient history, their immunity level, and whether they have received chemotherapy.

Do Cancer Patients Lack Immunity? 

No, Not at all. There are lots of cancer patients who have survived cancer disease and many of them have almost regained their immunity to normal levels. Concluding treatment is given to the patients after chemotherapy to support the immune system of the cancer patients.

For How Long Does a Patient Have Low Immunity after Chemotherapy?

Following a treatment like chemotherapy, immunity is suppressed for eight to nine days and later it takes around 3 weeks for the recovery of immunity. Also, immunity suppression depends on the type of chemotherapy done.  

How Does a Cancer Patient Increase Immunity After Chemotherapy?

Many medications can be taken after chemotherapy to support the immune system of the cancer patient. The medications consist of antibiotics that can protect the patient from general harmful infection but not from the COVID infection. 

There is a shot called an immune booster shot that is given to cancer patients to quickly build the immune system after chemotherapy. These boosters are granulocyte booster shots that speed up the recovery of the immune system from 7 to 8 days to 2 to 3 days. It also helps to not suppress the immune system after chemotherapy. People have to maintain social distance from chemotherapy patients so that they do not contract the infection.

Measures to Be Taken by Cancer Patients to Stay Protected from COVID 19

Here are some precautions & medical guidelines, which are recommended for everyone and not just for cancer patients:

1. Maintain social distance from other people.

2. Disinfect and clean objects and surfaces regularly.

3. Cover your nose & mouth whenever you sneeze or cough by using a tissue. Dispose of it properly.

4. Do not come in contact with people who are sick. 

5. Do not touch your mouth, nose, or eyes.

6. Always use a hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol.

7. Wash your hand with water & soap whenever you return from outside.

Symptoms of COVID-19 for a Cancer Patient

There might be some respiratory illness in a cancer patient affected with COVID. There is not much difference between the symptoms that a normal person experiences and that of a cancer patient. Some of the symptoms that you can experience after getting infected with coronavirus are loss of smell, loss of appetite, diarrhea, cough, fever, and body pain.

Should a Cancer Patient Affect by COVID Get Treated at a Medical Facility?

It’s better to consult an oncologist in Mumbai to find out if a cancer patient affected with COVID should seek treatment from a medical facility or cancer hospital in India. Generally, it depends on the health condition of the person. However, don’t ignore any symptoms and continue with home quarantine or self-treatment. If the symptoms start getting worse, seek immediate medical attention.

Prevention is better than cure. Cancer patients should remain all the more cautious to keep such deadly infections at bay. Stay safe! Stay healthy!