Mesothelioma and the Novel Coronavirus

As a national emergency becomes part of life in the United States, what we don’t know about the novel coronavirus is more than what we actually do know. Medical professionals are uncovering new data every day on those with higher risk factors, specifically older people over 60 and anyone who has an underlying medical issue.

The largest conference on mesothelioma will not take place this year. As with many other major events nationwide, the reason for the cancellation surrounds the spread of COVID-19. However, other factors are at play.

A Deadly Combination

Gatherings of all forms run the risk of spreading the coronavirus to others. However, a more specific reason for the stoppage surrounds new data revealing significant health risks to those suffering from mesothelioma.

Due to their already compromised immune systems and respiratory issues, these patients are considered at a particularly significant risk of contracting infections. Like COVID-19, mesothelioma is also a respiratory disease, representing a potentially deadly combination.

Treating any type of cancer presents challenges. Time is not on the side of the victims, specifically when treatments stop. Patients who suffer fevers and significant respiratory distress are forced to pause therapy to diagnose and subsequently treat those maladies accurately.

Even more troubling are immunotherapy side effects that can be mistaken for the coronavirus. For those in clinical trials or undergoing chemotherapy, coughs, sore throats, and breathing problems, a pause in treatment is the last thing those suffering from mesothelioma need.

Hospital space and medical treatments are in short supply during outbreaks of this nature. Wait times expand, and treatment drops in quality. Even securing medication and supplies presents challenges for mesothelioma patients.

The standard protocol to stave off COVID-19 is to wash hands with soap and water, use alcohol-based sanitizer, avoid touching the face, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue or elbow. While those rules apply to everyone, mesothelioma patients, in particular, have to take extra steps to stave off the coronavirus.