Home / Science / Health /  Study finds link between cancer patients and long Covid-19 | Read here

A new study has revealed that more than one in two cancer patients experienced long Covid-19 symptoms for more than six months after initial infection. The research is published in the journal eLife, according to the news agency ANI. 

The result also shows that women undergoing cancer treatment seem at higher risk than men.  In the general population, reports of the prevalence of long Covid-19 - also known as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC) - vary from 10% to 87%, with symptoms persisting beyond 30 days in patients who had severe initial Covid-19 symptoms or were hospitalized.

Lead author Anne-Marie Chaftari, Associate Professor, at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Texas, US said, “Although cancer patients fall into a higher Covid-19 risk group there is limited data on PASC in cancer patients and how it affects their progression, care, and treatment."

"In order to provide a better understanding of post-Covid-19 management among cancer patients, we sought to characterize the patterns of long Covid-19 specifically in these patients," she said. 

The team of scientists identified patients receiving care at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center who were diagnosed with Covid-19 between March and September 2020 and followed their progress for up to 14 months via remote symptom monitoring and their usual hospital visits, according to the study. 

It stated that questionnaires were sent out to patients daily for 14 days after the initial Covid-19 diagnosis. They were asked to record symptoms including fatigue, cough, chest tightness, difficulty breathing, headache, fever, altered sense of smell or taste, muscle aches, gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, sleep disturbance, and any limitations with activities of daily living. 

Long Covid-19 was defined as coronavirus-related symptoms persisting beyond 30 days of diagnosis or the emergence of new Covid-19 symptoms, ANI reported. 

The team collected data for 312 cancer patients, of whom 188, or 60 percent, developed long Covid-19. Those who had relapsed or had treatment-resistant cancer at baseline, or those who had more severe acute Covid-19 infections, were less likely to develop long Covid-19, the study said.

The link between BP and the risk of severe acute Covid-19 is thought to be due to the binding of the Covid-19 spike protein to angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2), the target of many BP-lowering drugs. These findings might rule out this mechanism is important for the development of long Covid-19, it added as quoted by ANI. 

Senior author Issam Raad, professor, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center said, “Our study found that long Covid-19 occurred in the majority of our cancer patients and was more prevalent in women than men."

“Even in this high-risk patient population, long Covid-19 was not associated with a high rate of hospital admissions. We also found no underlying condition or severity of illness during acute Covid-19 that would predict long Covid-19," he added. 


(With ANI inputs)

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