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UK cancer patients who caught Covid more likely to die within a month than Europeans


Researchers gathered data from 1,400 cancer patients in Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, Germany and the UK. They found that in the UK, 40 percent died within 30 days of being diagnosed with the virus, compared to 27 percent in the EU. By six months after diagnosis, 48 percent of UK and 33 percent of European patients had died.

Experts at Imperial College London said patients here tended to be more frail, which may have made them more vulnerable.

Study co-author Dr Alessio Cortellini, from Imperial’s Department of Surgery and Cancer, said: “UK cancer patients tended to be older than European patients, were more likely to be male and have other conditions such as obesity or diabetes.

“All of these may have contributed to the increased mortality rate, and show why cancer patients should be prioritised for Covid vaccination.” Many cancer sufferers are on the priority list and will have had their first jab.

The study, which used data from February to September last year, found that UK patients were less likely to be receiving cancer treatment when they were diagnosed with Covid-19.

However, decisions to pause treatment to reduce risk of infection did not appear to affect chances of dying.

But patients in the UK were less likely to receive certain Covid treatments including corticosteroids and anti-virals.

The findings were published in the European Journal of Cancer.

Study leader Dr David Pinato said: “We knew the UK had one of the highest deaths rates from Covid-19. In addition to this, the UK already lagged behind in terms of cancer care.”

Sara Bainbridge, at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “People with cancer should be receiving their vaccination as a matter of priority and we encourage everyone to make sure they get theirs.”


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