The medical community has come a long way in understanding the risk factors for severe illness from COVID-19. One of the greatest risk factors is having cancer.
“All major medical societies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have noted that patients with cancer are in a higher-risk category for severe illness,” says hematologist/medical oncologist Ahmed Nadeem, DO, with LVPG Hematology Oncology–Muhlenberg. “Many cancers and their therapies can weaken the immune system, decreasing its ability to fight viruses effectively. This, in turn, can lead to severe illness.”
With close to 2 million new cancer cases expected to be diagnosed this year, many individuals will find themselves at higher risk for COVID-19 than before.
“Knowing your risk factors, following vaccine guidelines and taking extra safety precautions are the best ways to protect yourself,” Nadeem says.