Are Cancer Patients More Vulnerable to COVID-19 Than the Average Public?

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VIDEO | 01:22

Hear the latest from MSK hematologic oncologist Craig Sauter.

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Hypothetically, given the compromised immune system of many of our cancer patients related to both disease and treatment., we are concerned that cancer patients are more vulnerable to becoming infected with COVID-19, as well as potentially experiencing more severe disease.  

In that regard, we have very limited data in the real world with regard to cancer patients and COVID- 19. The limited experience that we're able to draw from is from the original epicenter of the pandemic, in Wuhan, China, where two reports have been published on the impact on cancer patients. It appears based on a single center study that patients with cancer may have an increased two-fold risk of infectivity, meaning contracting COVID- 19.  

The second study, for many centers within China, demonstrated that patients that contracted COVID- 19 may have an increased risk of severe disease and potential mortality, related to the infection. I do want to highlight that these two studies are very limited in numbers and more data are needed. 
 
We hope to gather more data here at Memorial Sloan Kettering with regards to the impact of COVID- 19 on patients with cancer and patients with cancer undergoing active therapy, as well as patients who have completed their therapy.