COVID-19 and Cancer Survivorship
The Children’s Oncology Group (COG) has issued important information for the survivors of childhood, adolescent and young adult cancers in light of the coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) pandemic. COVID-19 virus is a new virus and the impact to this group is largely unknown. There are limited data to suggest, however, that survivors of cancer may be at higher risk of health complications from COVID-19.1
Studies have shown that survivors of childhood cancer are at higher risk for pulmonary complications compared with the general population,2 a risk that may impact the disease severity of illnesses such as COVID-19 following treatment with bleomycin, pulmonary (lung) and total body radiation, and/or bone marrow transplantation.
In order to protect at-risk survivors, it is important to take the necessary precautions. There is a new COG Health Link available that provides guidance specific to survivors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and National Coalition of Cancer Survivorship have a website that provides answers to commonly asked questions about cancer and COVID-19:
Survivors exposed to bleomycin and/or radiation to the lungs should be sure to note this history to medical providers if they seek medical care for a respiratory illness and fever during the pandemic. If uncertain about their personal risk, survivors and their families may share the links above with their medical team. Survivors with questions regarding their treatment and associated long term effects should contact the clinic where they obtain their Survivorship care.
1Liang, W, et al. Cancer patients in SARS-CoV-2 infection: a nationwide analysis in China. The Lancet. Feb 14, 2020. 21:3, 335-337
2Dietz AC, et al: Risk and Impact of pulmonary complications in survivors of childhood cancer: a report from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. Cancer 122:3687-3696, 2016