People diagnosed with cancer more than 24 months ago are more likely to get severe Covid-19 infection, according to researchers. Also Read - Coronavirus News: Harbhajan Singh Reacts as India Witnesses Over 45,000 New COVID-19 Cases, Says ''Does Anyone Care?''

For the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Oncology, the researchers analysed the case of 156 cancer patients with confirmed Covid-19 diagnosis in London. Also Read - Sex on Their Minds! Online Sale of Sex Toys Rises to 65% Post COVID-19 Lockdown in India, Mumbai Tops the List

“Our findings provide the first insight into the possible effects of cancer and its treatments on Covid-19 outcomes,” said study researcher Mieke Van Hemelrijck from King’s College London, the UK. Also Read - Shocker From Odisha: Children Aged 10-12 Years Served Liquor To 'Prevent' COVID-19, Video Goes Viral

Advanced statistical methods were employed to identify which demographic or clinical characteristics were associated with Covid-19 severity or death.

Patient follow-ups, conducted 37 days later, found 22 per cent patients from the cohort died from Covid-19 infection. Patients of the Asian ethnicity and those diagnosed with cancer over 24 months before the onset of Covid-19 symptoms were at higher risk.

Patients with dyspnoea (shortness of breath) or high CRP levels (a common blood marker of inflammation) were also at higher risk from Covid-19. Severe Covid-19 infection was associated with fever, dyspnoea, gastro-intestinal symptoms or those with cancer.

Hypertension was the most reported co-morbidity followed by diabetes, renal impairment and cardiovascular disease. The most common tumour types were urological/gynaecological (29 per cent), haematological (18 per cent) and breast (15 per cent).

When classified according to the Covid-19 severity, the largest proportion of cancers were haematological (36 per cent). While 40 per cent patients had stage IV cancer, 46 per cent patients had been diagnosed with a malignancy in the last 12 months.

“Large studies with detailed information on Covid-19 safety measures and oncological care are warranted to explore the intersection of Covid-19 and cancer in terms of clinical outcomes,” Hemelrijck said.