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COVID-19 vaccines urged for cancer patients

Turkish oncologist says cancer patients, especially those under active treatment, should consider getting vaccinated

Elif Kucuk   | 05.02.2021
COVID-19 vaccines urged for cancer patients

ISTANBUL

Turkish oncologists, marking World Cancer Day, stated that national and international guidelines and resources recommend vaccination for cancer patients.

Professor Nuri Karadurmus from the University of Health Sciences told Anadolu Agency that all cancer patients, especially those under any active treatment, regardless of classical chemotherapy, smart therapy, radiotherapy, or immunotherapy, should consider getting vaccinated.

Karadurmus said that some cancer patients had not gone to their doctor's control in this period in fear of becoming infected with the virus. He stated that patients who did not continue their chemotherapy treatments applied to the hospitals with recurrence risk.

Pointing out that there is no specific information about the rate of cancer patients getting infected with the COVID-19, Karadurmus stated that observational studies showed that cancer patients were included in the group of patients with immunodeficiency.

Karadurmus said the effects of cancer patients becoming infected with the coronavirus depend on the person's infection.

He said that factors such as the stage of the current cancer disease and the tumor burden, the viral load that the person is exposed to, age, chronic organ failure, and using immunosuppressive drugs are also important in such cases.

Karadurmus said the virus also can change the course of various treatments, such as the cancer stages and the tumor burden in the cancer patients.

He added that the disease course may be more severe, especially in hematological cancer types, since the immune system is directly suppressed.

Karadurmus stressed that although vaccination is recommended two weeks before starting classical chemotherapy to ensure an adequate antibody response to the vaccine, patients under any type of treatment can be vaccinated during their therapy.

"Those receiving stem cell transplant treatment are an exceptional group in this regard," he said.

He added that they should not hinder health institutions because their controls and treatments are of vital importance.

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