Thursday Morning Medical Update: How COVID Affects Cancer Patients

Total COVID patient numbers are steady at The University of Kansas Health System, 184 today, 186 yesterday
89 with active virus, 95 yesterday
26 in ICU, same as yesterday
14 on ventilators, same as yesterday
95 hospitalized but out of acute infection phase, 91 yesterday

Key points from today’s guests:
Dr. Roy Jensen, vice chancellor and director, The University of Kansas Cancer Center
Participating in two-year NCI study of impact of COVID on cancer patients
Many cancer treatments compromise a patient’s immune system leaving them more vulnerable to COVID
Encouraged by President Biden’s “Cancer Moonshot” initiative to reduce the cancer death rate by 50% over the next 25 years.
Cancer is many different diseases and need to find a cure for each kind. For example, breast cancer treatment has no effect on lung cancer.
Cancer research helps find cures for other diseases
Dr. Ronald Chen, chair, Radiation Oncology
Led research study showing 9 million cancer screenings missed during COVID. That trend still continues today. It’s “absolutely safe” to get screenings.
Most commonly missed screenings are for breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer and cervical cancer.
Those missed screenings will lead to more advanced cancer and higher death rates
“If every cancer were diagnosed at stage 1, we can cure almost everybody.”
Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force web site is a good source for screening recommendations.
Friday, February 4 at 8:00 a.m. is the next Morning Medical Update. Demand by COVID patients is high and the list of complications is growing among long haulers. Doctors break down the top symptoms and share rare consequences of COVID. We’ll also update PPE shortages, and the anticipated increase in therapeutics including oral antivirals and monoclonal antibodies.
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