HealthDay News — Cancer survivors are at higher risk for comorbidities that are considered risk factors for severe COVID-19 outcomes, according to a study published online Nov. 30 in EClinicalMedicine.

Helena Carreira, Ph.D., from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and colleagues compared survivors (for at least one year) of the 20 most common cancers and age-, sex-, and general practice-matched cancer-free controls to examine whether cancer survivors are at elevated risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes. Data were included for 108,215 cancer survivors and 523,541 cancer-free controls.

The researchers found that compared with controls, cancer survivors had more diabetes, asthma, other respiratory, cardiac, neurological, renal, and liver diseases, and less obesity, with variation by cancer site. A total of 205 influenza hospitalizations/deaths were identified, with a higher risk for cancer survivors versus controls (adjusted hazard ratio, 2.78). Large elevated risks persisting for more than 10 years were seen for hematological cancer survivors (hazard ratio overall, 15.17; hazard ratio for >10 years from cancer diagnosis, 10.06). Evidence of elevated risk was seen for up to five years from cancer diagnosis for survivors of other cancers (hazard ratio for one to less than five years from diagnosis, 2.22).

“Cancer survivors had higher prevalence of several chronic conditions associated with severe COVID-19, compared to people with no history of cancer,” the authors write. “This should be taken into account in public health policies targeted at protecting clinical risk groups.”


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One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Abstract/Full Text