World Lymphoma Awareness Day: Covid-19 can be fatal for lymphoma patients

Topics cancer | Coronavirus | healthcare

Photo: Wikicommons

Patients suffering from lymphoma, and having low levels of immunity, are considered among the groups at high risk of contracting Covid-19, and even falling prey to the deadly virus, say doctors.

No study has exactly pinpointed the exact adverse impact of Covid-19 virus on lymphoma/cancer patients but it is widely accepted that they are among high-risk groups.

On the eve of World Lymphoma Awareness Day, the focus is on means to protect those who are at risk of infections, and its adverse effects, medical experts say.

Patients who undergo/undergoing cancer treatment have their immune system compromised, making them more vulnerable to infections, including that of coronavirus. And those with haematological malignancies such as acute myeloid leukemia (AML), lymphoma, and myeloma may be particularly vulnerable as these cancers weaken the immune system.

"Immune system of an individual weakens when he/she is put through chemotherapy or immunotherapy or radiation therapy, and increases the risk of patients undergoing these treatments to get infected with SARS-CoV-2/Covid-19 virus. Even patients who are not receiving active cancer treatment must stay cautious as the effects of past therapy are usually long-lasting," said Dr Bhanu Prakash, Consultant Medical, haemato-oncology, Medicover Hospitals.

"Lymphoma patients should take extra precautions to minimise the risk of contracting Covid-19. In addition to general preventive measures like keeping away from crowded places, avoiding non-essential travel, boosting the immune system by keeping stress levels low, getting adequate sleep, doing moderate physical exercise, and consuming nutritious food will help. Treatment for some lymphoma patients is a continuous process, hence, ensuring they are up under additional precautions is the only to protect them in these difficult times," said Dr. P. Avanthi, Consultant Medical Oncologist, Continental Hospitals.

The experts say that family members and caregivers of people with lymphoma should take appropriate precautions and take extra care to avoid bringing coronavirus into home. They should constantly monitor patients and stock medicines and other necessary supplies that can last for several weeks. Storing extra non-perishable food can help minimise trips to the grocery store.


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