A tough choice: People with cancer could either choose treatment or keeping safe from COVID-19.

Cancer patients are at risk of getting attacked by the novel virus COVID-19 when heading out in the public for the treatments. An added risk includes, the treatments could also weaken their immune system.

People suffering from cancer face a difficult dilemma to decide whether to receive treatment. Getting the needed treatment means that the patient needs to be exposed to the public, potentially exposing them to the novel virus, COVID-19. The treatments given to cancer patients can also weaken their immune system, making them susceptible to the virus.

Recently a paper and published in The Lancet show that people diagnosed with cancer were five times more likely to die within 30 days of a COVID-19 diagnosis compared to people in remission or people with no disease.

Dr. Jeremy L. Warner, MS, a lead author of the study and an associate professor of medicine and biomedical informatics at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, and his colleagues assessed data on 928 patients for 30-day all-cause mortality.

In a press statement, Warner said his team is working to identify the factors that affect disease severity and death.

Warner says he’s also interested in the effects of specific cancer treatments that are being used to treat people with cancer who have COVID-19.

The researchers say there’s more to learn about the relationship between cancer and COVID-19.

“How we improve the care we provide these patients and reduce the number of deaths and severe consequences associated with this disease is among the top questions,” Dr. Howard A. Burris III, FACP, FASCO, the president of ASCO, said in a press statement.

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