However, data to be published soon by the UK Coronavirus Cancer Monitoring Project shows that for patients who need chemotherapy, there is no additional risk of undergoing treatment compared to having no treatment or a different treatment. .
For cancers involving a tumor, there was actually an advantage to continuing chemotherapy, despite Covid’s risk.
The same was true of patients who needed immunotherapy, hormone therapy and surgery.
Professor Gary Middleton, who leads the project at the University of Birmingham, said: “We are almost certain that we should get the message out, very, very loud and clear that it is safer for cancer patients to receive chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
“We have to accept the fact that, if we are not administering these treatments, we are doing a terrible service to our patients.”
He said the initial data from the initial virus hotspots in Wuhan and northern Italy were misleading about the risk for immunosuppressed patients.
Professor Middleton also said the NHS faces a potential legal “minefield” due to the delay in cancer surgery as a result of Covid’s pressure on hospitals.
“People understand Covid, but at the end of the day, when you are the person who has the cancer that is progressing to a point where you can no longer be operated on or are at greater risk of metastatic progression, then this is terrible for that patient, so I think there’s going to be a lot of that. ”
He added that an “excessive” amount of time could be spent on complaints and could be “enormously expensive at a time when the NHS is absolutely on its knees”.
An NHS spokesman said: “Cancer services remained open during the pandemic and we continue to remind people that it is safe to attend tests and treatment, including chemotherapy, which, according to the latest data, is functioning at the same level. year ago. In both waves, doctors made decisions based on the best and safest treatment options for patients. “