Current, former cancer patients more likely to die of COVID-19: study

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New research shows how dangerous the coronavirus is for current and former cancer patients. Those who developed COVID-19 were much more likely to die within a month than people without cancer who got it, two studies found.

They are the largest reports on people with both diseases in the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain and Canada. In one study, half of 928 current and former cancer patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized and 13 per cent died. That’s far more than the various rates that have been reported in the general population.

Results were published Thursday in the journal Lancet and will be discussed this weekend at an American Society of Clinical Oncology conference being held online because of the pandemic.

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A second study in the Lancet from researchers in England of 800 patients with various types of cancer and COVID-19 found an even higher death rate — 28 per cent. The risk rose with age and other health problems such as high blood pressure.

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The studies have big implications: more than 1.6 million new cancer patients are diagnosed in the United States each year,

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