When COVID Strikes Cancer Patients, Men Fare Worse
Researchers concluded that male cancer patients are 60% more likely to have severe COVID-19 and even die from it than women.
"Knowing this propensity for poorer outcomes in males with COVID-19 and cancer will help physicians make better decisions in caring for them in clinical settings," said study author Dr. Anup Kasi, an assistant professor of oncology at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
Other studies had noted a higher death rate for men who developed COVID-19. The research team wondered if such gender differences would also apply to cancer patients. "We didn't know if the same gender differences in severity risk would still apply or not," Kasi said in a hospital news release.
The researchers reviewed 17 studies about COVID-19 and cancer published through June. These included nearly 4,000 patients who had both diseases.
"The data behind risk factors for COVID-19 in the general population as well as in the cancer patient population is still evolving," Kasi said. "But the takeaway message is that the male sex may be a potential risk factor in the cancer patient population for poor outcomes with COVID-19 infections."
The report was initially published online in the journal EClinical Medicine. The Lancet subsequently ran an updated version.
For more on COVID-19, see the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCE: University of Kansas Cancer Center, news release, Nov. 24, 2020