Study finds that chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer does not increase risk of COVID


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS/CBS) – New research has comforted some breast cancer patients undergoing treatment during the pandemic.

A new study has found that treatments like chemotherapy do not increase the risk of COVID-19 infection or death.

Tricia Vertucci has been fighting breast cancer this past year. She had a double mastectomy and underwent 16 rounds of chemotherapy just as COVID was reaching the U.S.

Her husband, an essential worker, had to move out of their home due to her weakened immune system caused by cancer treatment.

“My immune system was shot between all the chemo and just the surgery three months prior to that,” she said.

However, a new study out of New York University Langone shows that breast cancer patients treated with chemo don’t have an increased risk for COVID-19 infection when compared to patients who underwent other treatments.

The study also found that patients who contracted COVID-19 and previously received chemo did not have a higher mortality rate.

The study, lead by Dr. Douglas Marks, studied 3,000 breast cancer patients treated at the height of the pandemic. The study found that older and overweight patients had a higher risk of dying from COVID – factors that have already been identified as a cause of COVID deaths.

Vertucci, after 6 months of radiation and reconstructive surgeries, is getting back into the swing of things.

“I came out on the other side learning that I’m very strong,” she said.

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