New research: Cancer patients have higher risk of severe COVID -19 infection than non-cancer patients

COVID-19 and genes has recently received a lot of attention from a variety of sources. Some research indicates that your genetic makeup may influence your likelihood of getting COVID-19 as well as the severity of the illness.

The research has now shown that cancer patients have a higher risk of severe COVID-19 infection than non-cancer patients.

The study, recently conducted by Penn Medicine found, Patients with inactive cancer and not currently undergoing treatments also face a significantly higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

Past reports have established an increased risk of severe disease and death for sick or hospitalized cancer patients with COVID-19 compared to patients without cancer, but less is known about patients in the general population.

The findings underscore the importance of COVID-19 mitigation, like social distancing and mask-wearing, and vaccinations for all patients, not just those recently diagnosed or with active disease.

“Patients who have cancer need to be careful not to become exposed during this time,” said senior author Kara N. Maxwell, MD, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Hematology-Oncology and Genetics in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Abramson Cancer Center and the Basser Center for BRCA.

“That message has been out there, but these latest findings show us it’s not only for patients hospitalized or on treatment for their cancer. All oncology patients need to take significant precautions during the pandemic to protect themselves.”

Studies show that cancer patients have a higher risk of COVID-19 complications, due in part to factors such as older age, higher smoking rates, comorbidities, frequent health care exposures, and the effects of cancer therapies. These latest results also suggest cancer itself and its impact on the body may play a role in exacerbating COVID-19 infections.

Interested in learning more about your genetic make up and predisposition to cancer?

Vita Medical Solutions partners with laboratories to facilitate access to advanced hereditary cancer (CGx) genetic testing.

Learn more about your personal and family genetic makeup and personalized medicine options through our genetic test offerings. Read more specifically about CGx testing here:

With qualifying insurance, this test can cost you nothing out of pocket. Click below to schedule a call with one of Vita Medical’s Patient Services Consultants to find out your eligibility.

Call us 1.800.590.9292 (toll free) or email at [email protected].



University of Pennsylvania School of MedicineJournal reference:

Sun, L., et al. (2021) SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity and seroconversion in patients undergoing active cancer-directed therapy. JNCI Cancer


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