Lung cancer and COVID-19 have the same symptoms, like cough and achy lungs. The effects of both conditions can have a big impact on your ability to breathe.
Scientists are beginning to explore how lung cancer and COVID-19 may interact. Continue reading to learn more.
Lung cancer is a long-term condition. Treatment goals can be different for each type of cancer, but usually focus on controlling the growth and spread. Treatment is also meant to eliminate the cancer.
COVID-19 is the illness caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. This virus is currently the cause of a pandemic that has sickened and killed millions of people worldwide.
COVID-19 is a serious condition. Symptoms come on quickly and last a short time. COVID-19 can cause serious or critical illness in others if it is used too much.
However, some people who have had COVID-19 experience lingering symptoms, such as fatigue and shortness of breath. These symptoms can last weeks or months after you first contract the virus. This is called long COVID.
The table below can help you figure out which symptoms are common and which are unique.
|Shortness of breath||✓||✓|
|Chest pain||✓||✓ (severe cases)|
|Coughing up blood||✓|
|Unintentional weight loss||✓|
|Recurrent or persistent lung infections||✓|
|Fever, with or without chills||✓|
|Runny or stuffy nose||✓|
|Loss of smell and taste||✓|
|Nausea or vomiting||✓|
People with lung cancer are more likely to have COVID-19. These individuals have reduced lung function due to factors.
- a history of smoking
- Damage from the cancer itself.
- the effects of a previous lung cancer surgery
- Other conditions that affect the heart or lung.
Lung cancer can cause lower lung function and breathing problems, so contracting a respiratory infection like COVID-19 can cause more stress on the lungs. This can raise the risk of serious problems.
Many people with cancer are at an increased risk of contracting infections. This can be due to the cancer or the treatments you are receiving.
mucus in your lungs helps to trap germs Your body expels germs by coughing. mucus drainage can be affected by a lung tumor.
Some cancer treatments can also weaken the immune system, making you more prone to infections. The
According to the
Since people with lung cancer are at an increased risk of COVID-19, you may be wondering about the outlook and potential consequences.
The types of problems that people with lung cancer may experience are similar to those in the general population. These can include:
- A secondary disease is a viral orbacterial disease.
- potentially serious blood clots
- A respiratory distress syndrome is a condition.
- The heart, liver, and kidneys are all damaged.
COVID-19 can potentially have long-term complications as well. It can take time to recover from damage to the lungs and other organs, particularly for people with cancer. It’s also possible to develop long COVID.
The FDA has authorized several treatments to help treat COVID-19 in people at risk of becoming very ill.
The treatments fall into two categories. The anti-virals prevent the virus from entering your body. Examples include:
- nirmatrelvir with ritonavir (Paxlovid)
- Remdesivir is a drug.
- molnupiravir is a drug.
Your immune system is able to fight the virus withonoclonal antibodies. A treatment that works against current viral variants is called a monoclonal antibody treatment.
- 20 people required help with oxygenation, with:
- 18 people are receiving supplemental oxygen.
- 1 receiving a non-invasive procedure.
- 1 receiving supplemental oxygen with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)
- requiring mechanical air flow.
- 9 people received corticosteroids as a part of their treatment.
- 7 people died from COVID-19. All of them had stage 4 lung cancer.
Does COVID-19 interfere with my lung cancer treatment?
It can be hard to deal with cancer treatments. If you have lung cancer and contract COVID-19, you may need to defer some types of cancer treatment until you recover.
Doctors will make treatment decisions on a case by case basis. Your doctor will consider the benefits and risks of continuing or deferring your cancer treatment while you have COVID-19. They will consider some factors.
- the type and stage of your cancer
- The kind of treatment being considered.
- The risk of your cancer progressing.
- Your lung function is related to that of your level of lung function.
- Your age and health.
If you have lung cancer, the best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. The
Vaccination can help reduce your risk of getting sick. It can lower your risk of serious illness or death if you become ill.
The table shows the current vaccine recommendations.
|Primary series||First booster||Second booster|
|Pfizer-BioNTech||2 doses given 3–8 weeks apart||mRNA booster at least 5 months after primary series||Ages 50 and older: mRNA booster at least 4 months after first booster|
|Moderna||2 doses given 4–8 weeks apart||mRNA booster at least 5 months after primary series||Ages 50 and older: mRNA booster at least 4 months after first booster|
|Johnson & Johnson||1 dose||mRNA booster at least 2 months after primary series||Ages 50 and older: mRNA booster at least 4 months after first booster|
It’s important to note that if you have a weakened immune system, the vaccine recommendations are a little different. The table below shows the current
|Primary series||Primary series: Extra dose||First booster||Second booster|
|Pfizer-BioNTech||2 doses given 3 weeks apart||extra dose given 4 weeks after second dose||mRNA booster at least 3 months after extra dose||mRNA booster at least 4 months after first booster|
|Moderna||2 doses given 4 weeks apart||extra dose given 4 weeks after second dose||mRNA booster at least 3 months after extra dose||mRNA booster at least 4 months after first booster|
|Johnson & Johnson||1 dose||extra mRNA dose given 4 weeks after initial dose||mRNA booster at least 2 months after extra dose||mRNA booster at least 4 months after first booster|
Other ways to protect yourself
You can also get a vaccine to protect you from COVID-19. These include:
- Asking your household and caregivers to stay up to date on their vaccinations.
- You wear a mask when you are out in public.
- Avoid areas that are crowded or poorly ventilated.
- Maintaining physical distance while you are out in public.
- washing your hands frequently with soap and water
There are more questions about lung cancer. We will aim to answer some of them.
Can COVID-19 cause lung cancer?
In a 2020 study, researchers wondered if extensive lung damage and inflammation from COVID-19 may contribute to the development of lung cancer. However, it’s still unclear what effect, if any, COVID-19 has on lung cancer risk.
There is ongoing research. We need more time to see results.
Can COVID-19 be mistaken for lung cancer?
“There are some similarities between lung cancer and carbon dioxide. The lungs can show a ground glass appearance when it’s both conditions.”
Experts have some effective strategies to tell the difference between the two. A thorough medical history, laboratory tests, and pathology results are examples.
Does immunotherapy for cancer help protect me against COVID-19?
Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that helps your immune system to fight cancer. While it’s possible that this treatment may protect against COVID-19, much more research is necessary.
I’m in remission from lung cancer. Should I still worry about increased risk of COVID-19?
If you’ve had lung cancer and are currently in remission, it’s still important to take steps to protect yourself from COVID-19. Some research indicates that having a history of cancer may increase your risk of COVID-19.
Is it safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine if I have lung cancer?
The vaccines are safe for people with lung cancer. Mild side effects of vaccination are the most common.
- There are some symptoms at the injection site.
- fever, with or without chills
- There is pain in the muscles.
- There is a throbbing head.
People with lung cancer are more likely to die from their disease. The effects of cancer and lung damage can contribute to this.
Staying up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines is the best way to prevent COVID-19. Should you contract the virus, this can help you avoid serious illness.
Your care team is here to help you. You should raise any questions or concerns you have about COVID-19, the vaccines, or the treatment of cancer.