COVID-19 AND CANCER
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends that everyone 12 years and older get a COVID-19 vaccine, including people with underlying medical conditions such as cancer, and people who are participating in cancer clinical trials. Trial participants should talk to their clinical trial research team and follow their guidance.
While it is important for everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19, it is critically important for cancer patients because having cancer increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19. The other factors that increase your risk for severe illness include a weakened or compromised immune system, older age and other medical conditions such as vascular or respiratory disease and heart disease.
People with blood cancers appear to be at higher risk for prolonged infection, illness and death from COVID-19 than people with solid tumors. These patients often have depleted numbers of immune cells that would normally produce antibodies to protect against viruses. So far, statistics show that cancer patients aren’t necessarily more likely to catch COVID-19 but are more likely to suffer serious illness and complications if they do.
As a cancer patient, you are generally more susceptible to severe disease because cancer can weaken your immune system. A weakened immune system makes you less able to fight infection, whether it's COVID-19 or something else. In addition, many of the cancer therapies, such as chemotherapies, also affect your immune system. When they impede your immune system’s ability to fight infection, you can have more serious effects from COVID-19.
Does a cancer history increase your risk?
It is currently not known whether having a cancer history increases your risk for severe illness from COVID-19. If you have been treated for cancer in the past you may want to discuss your concerns with Dr. Miranda. If you recently received cancer treatment such as chemotherapy, a stem cell or bone marrow transplant, or cell therapy, Dr. Miranda may suggest that you wait until your immune system has recovered before you get vaccinated. Or he might suggest that you wait until 2 weeks after your vaccination to get immunosuppressive treatment.
Vaccines for other infections, like the flu, are also safe and recommended for people with cancer. Many medical experts recommend that most patients with cancer or a history of cancer should get a COVID-19 vaccine. However, since every person is different, it is best to discuss the risks and benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine with Dr. Miranda first.
Should You Get a 3rd Vaccine Dose Against COVID-19?
Yes. If you have a weakened immune system, you are considered immunocompromised and should absolutely get a third vaccine dose for extra protection against COVID’s Delta variant, which is currently rampaging through America. It is believed that this third shot acts as a booster and will provide protection against other variants, as well.
Learn more by calling 956-724-8543 for more information or use our convenient Request an Appointment form. Our cancer diagnosis patients come to us from Zapata, Hidalgo, Laredo, Webb, Hebbronville and surrounding locations.