New Study Finds Cancer Treatments May Strengthen Immune System
Since the first cases of COVID-19 in 2019, countless theories about the disease have been both confirmed and disproven. Scientists around the world agree that, as it is an unprecedented infection, there is still much to learn. Such is the case with a new study that found that Cancer patients do not have higher risks of contagion of the coronavirus, as was originally believed.
The study, conducted by the Technion Institute of Technology and the Rambam Hospital in Israel, reported that cancer treatments make the people’s immune system is more resistant to severe symptoms of COVID-19.
“All this about COVID-19 is totally new to researchers and scientists and there have been many misconceptions and errors about the behavior of the virus,” said the doctor Mario rosenberg, internist and gastroenterologist, in an interview with The opinion.
The doctor indicated that more research was still needed, but that this study was a very important step in understanding the disease
“Many cancer patients fear that their condition will predispose them to get COVID-19 and maybe they stop going to hospitals to receive their treatment, ‘he noted.
To the surprise of the researchers in this study, the observed patients receiving chemotherapy had the same incidence of contagion as the rest of the population who did not have cancer. There was no increase in mortality for those who received treatment.
“This is a very new concept because we thought that cancer would increase mortality in those with the virus, but this study showed that it is not,” Rosenberg said.
The teacher Irit Ben-Aharon, director of the department of oncology of Rambam, and professor Yuval Shaked, director of the Rapaport Center for Cancer Research at the Technion Institute, they analyzed blood samples from 164 patients who were on active anticancer treatment and 107 who were not between March and June 2020. They all had blood tests done on three different occasions.
The researchers found that the rhythm of antibody development Covid-19 in both groups was around 2 percent. For cancer patients it was 2.4 percent and for those in the control group, 1.94 percent.
“We were surprised to see that cancer patients and healthy subjects developed antibodies at similar rates “said Dr. Ben-Aharon, in a statement.
The researchers hypothesize that the different responses of cancer patients to the disease are related to the fact that anticancer treatments modify the profile of the immune system. In particular, they speculate, immunotherapy.
It is these changes produced in the immune system that also protect patients of coronary diseases.
Don’t stop going to the doctor
Rosenberg described the change of modality in the doctor visits since the onset of the pandemic.
“To all my patients, I always give them my cell phone and tell them to call me for whatever they need. But generally they don’t call me, because they say ‘they don’t want to bother’, “said the doctor. “But since the pandemic, and as a result of the security and distancing protocols, the 80 percent of inquiries are by phone, Skype and FaceTime. Now many more patients are texting and communicating with me, but I can see that there is fear. For example, people who need to have a colonoscopy wait to have it. They don’t go to the hospital or office because they fear contagion. I don’t judge them, I don’t criticize them ”.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, cancer patients were classified as one of the risk groups and that is why many of them avoid going to hospitals and postpone elective treatments and operations, fearing possible contagions.
Rosenberg stressed that it still exists very little information about the new coronavirus.
“The statistics do not show us the whole picture. For example, we are told that 80 percent of people who die from the disease are 75 years or older. But they don’t tell us if they are 77, 80, or 100. We know that 6 percent of virus fatalities had no pre-existing illnesses, but we don’t know of any other comparisons between different demographic groups. 98 percent of those infected have no or mild symptoms. We are still learning about the virus ”.
And although the doctor stressed the importance of following the recommendations for wearing chinstraps, “Not only to protect ourselves, but to avoid infecting others” and of the safety and distancing protocols, he advised not to feel so much fear as to avoid going to the doctor or following certain treatments.
“If you have a disease, don’t stop going to the doctor. Do not stop doing the necessary treatments What were you doing, because otherwise, you can die from this disease.
To read the full report, you can visit: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6694/12/9/2421/htm#B4-cancers-12-02421