Cancer and the Covid-19 Pandemic

Cancer and the Covid-19 Pandemic-1

On January 20th, 2020, the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in the United States was reported. It was a time in history that led to fear, confusion, and many unanswered questions for millions of Americans. It presented a new fear for those who are immunocompromised or those who had family members with chronic diseases. It was a rough time around the world with millions of deaths and people affected by an unknown virus. It was a pivotal moment in history that changed people’s lives in a very short course of time.

It is important to research and learn more about the effects of Covid-19 on patients with cancer and other comorbidities. Covid-19 is known to affect those who were and are immunocompromised, individuals that have cancer and get Covid-19 have a higher likelihood of developing severe symptoms. In addition, patients that are undergoing chemotherapy also have a higher likelihood of contracting the virus. Individuals with blood cancers are also at a higher risk of getting severely infected due to their abnormal levels of immune cells that produce antibodies to fight against viruses. A large study of individuals with cancer who have Covid-19 is being conducted by the National Cancer Institute in an effort to learn more about Covid-19 and its effects on cancer patients which can help medical staff manage the patient’s treatment and decisions when it comes to their health.

SARS-CoV-2 is part of the coronavirus family which is common in people and animals. It causes respiratory disease and many other symptoms. It is recommended by the CDC for individuals that have cancer and other diseases to get the Covid-19 vaccine. The booster shot is also recommended for cancer patients in order to strengthen the immune system and provide longer protection against the virus. As the virus spreads it mutates and changes into new variants. The variant can either spread easily between people or become resistant to treatment and vaccines.

As a cancer registrar, capturing whether the cancer patient tested negative or positive for Covid-19 was crucial in 2020 and 2021. This type of information could be utilized for research purposes and can be used to analyze the effects Covid-19 has on patient treatments and cancer. According to the most recent 2022 Store manual, “SARCoV2 data items are not required to be collected on cases with a reportable malignancy with a diagnosis date during calendar year 2022 and beyond. However, SARSCoV2 data items should continue to be collected on all cases with a reportable malignancy with a diagnosis date during the calendar years of 2020 and/or 2021 following STORE v2021 rules and instructions” (AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SURGEONS). To learn more about cancer and Covid-19 you can visit the National Cancer Institute website which is included below along with other resources!


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