COVID-19 and what to know as a Breast Cancer Thriver

COVID-19, the new version of corona virus, is one of the most serious problems of human’s life. There is no doubt that all people read and hear the news about this dangerous virus. Researchers believe that all people can get sick with mentioned virus but people who are older (particularly over 70) and people with underlying health conditions, such as chronic lung disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and cancer are at higher risk for being sick.

According to the reports of Dr. Steve Pergam who is a clinical and infectious
disease researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, patients with hematologic malignancies and patients who are in active chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant patients have the biggest risk because their immune system is not strong enough . Therefore people who suffer from blood malignancies such as non-Hodgkin lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia and multiple myeloma, also patients who participate in an active treatment; surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and other treatments such
as immunotherapies need to be more aware and cautious.

In one hand, there is not a definite way for checking the level of immune
suppression and it is crystal clear that being in active chemotherapy, having low white-cell or low lymphocyte counts and taking immune-suppressive agents leads to immune deficits which cause to expand the probability of infection. On the other hand eight hours of sleep a night, exercise, getting good nutrition which means; balanced diet, eating fruits and vegetables can recharge the immune system.

Since the immune system is the most convincing way to fight with virus, many questions about this subject come to our mind. To clarify, many patients with breast cancer history wanted to know that whether Hormonal therapies can weaken the immune system. Dr H Burstein answered this question. He believes that Hormonal therapies do not have a negative effect on patient’s immune system, however, IV chemotherapy, CDK4/6 inhibitors palbociclib, ribociclib, abemaciclib), everolimus, alpelisib, chronic use of steroids affect the vulnerability to infection.

Patients with cancer history must protect themselves and if they have corona virus symptoms call your provider so they can help you and give you guidelines to make a better decision about your condition. Moreover it is really important when there is someone in your family who has symptoms it is more logical to use some social distancing. Using public transportation and participating in events is not recommended as the risk of being sick with covid-19 is higher when you are in public places.

Written by Negar Pourzadi, Tigerlily Foundation Volunteer