Researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute released a report earlier in October, that provides an overview of the impact of COVID-19 on cancer treatment, research, and on individuals diagnosed with cancer. Here are just some of their main findings:
- individuals diagnosed with cancer are at high-risk of adverse effects if diagnosed with COVID-19 due to a weakened immune system, either from the cancer itself or from cancer treatments
- study findings on which therapies increased patient's risk is mixed as most studies have look at systemic therapies as a whole rather than separately
- fear of contracting COVID-19 should not hinder patients from keeping up with their cancer care
- a study with breast cancer patients showed that telemedicine was associated with a higher quality of life
- telemedicine, however, cannot be mandated as it can cause disparities in healthcare access
- there has been a sharp decline in cancer diagnoses and screening due to cancelled and delayed appointments
- COVID-19 has impacted some clinical trials and funding for cancer-related organizations
- some COVID-19 treatment methods come from cancer research
Researchers of a study on breast cancer patients, both early and late stage, who were diagnosed with COVID-19, concluded that mortality rate was most dependent on comorbidities, as opposed to history with radiation therapy or with current anti-cancer treatment.
A study of 216 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in Spain, found that 82% of patients had a vitamin D deficiency. This is compared to a 47% vitamin D deficiency in a control group of 197 individuals. Although the difference in vitamin D levels was found, researchers noted that the study should not be taken to mean that vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for contracting the COVID-19 virus; more research is needed to determine this.
COVID-19 Updates Across Canada
Since our last newsletter, here are some of the recent news and updates related to the COVID-19 pandemic across Canada that may be of interest to you. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and is current as of October 30th.
- Manitoba is introducing a new, appointment-based scheduling system for COVID-19 which will first be rolled-out in Winnipeg.
- COVID-19 testing in now available in in Dauphin, Swan River, Brandon (Keystone Centre site), Winkler, Steinbach, Portage la Prairie, Flin Flon, The Pas and Thompson.
- A new drive-up site for COVID-19 testing has been opened in Brandon.
- A new drive-up site for COVID-19 testing will be opening in the Manitoba Public Insurance building at 125 King Edward St. in Winnipeg.
- 211 NB, a free, bilingual resource for New Brunswickers to access a variety of services, including non-clinical health services, was launched.
- New travel restrictions, with some exceptions, were put in place in regard to the Quebec border.
- Nova Scotians can now access online booking for COVID-19 testing appointments for assessment centres in the Central Zone or at IWK Health Centre in Halifax.
- York region has been added to the list of areas of higher community spread.