Coronavirus: What Mesothelioma Cancer Patients Should Know
Mesothelioma patients could be at risk of complications from the novel coronavirus, which is spreading rapidly across the United States and the rest of the world.
Organizers of the International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma, the largest mesothelioma conference in the U.S., postponed the April event after a “review of new [coronavirus] information released today regarding the risk to patients with thoracic malignancies.”
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Patients with thoracic malignancies, such as mesothelioma, are at an especially high risk of contracting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a condition caused by the novel coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2.
The compromised integrity of mesothelioma patients’ immune system and respiratory structures places them at high risk of infection.
Mesothelioma patients should prepare themselves with the information and resources to protect their health.
What Are the Risks of COVID-19 for Mesothelioma Patients?
The risks of COVID-19 for cancer patients and the elderly include severe health complications and inability to receive medical services, among others.
Spread of Infection
Proximity to sick individuals greatly increases the risk of contracting COVID-19. The probability of becoming ill rises exponentially in environments with large gatherings, such as conventions, meetings or parties. This is especially true for high-risk populations within hospitals or nursing homes.
Within the past week, a nursing home in Seattle was left devastated as COVID-19 claimed the lives of seven residents and left eight others sick.
Illness Leads to Delayed Cancer Treatment
Presenting with symptoms of fever or respiratory distress will prompt oncologists to postpone cancer therapy, so the immediate illness can be treated. This can delay the progress of a clinical trial or a round of chemotherapy.
Alternatively, immunotherapy side effects may mimic the appearance of COVID-19, which can prompt physicians to postpone treatment during an outbreak in order to make an accurate diagnosis.
Decreased Access to Medical Services
During an outbreak, hospitals and medical care are in especially high demand. Increased wait times and decreased availability of medications and supplies can hinder the quality of accessible treatment.
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