The rapid outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 related disease (COVID-19) has spread rapidly to a pandemic proportion, increasing the demands on health systems for the containment and management of COVID-19. Cancer has been reported as a major risk factor for adverse outcomes of and death from COVID-19. We extracted data from the World Health Organization’s progress reports and from the Italian Council of Medicine. In addition, we retrieved clinical data on cancer patients with confirmed COVID-19 in our Institution. As of April 2nd, 2020, 110 574 COVID-19 cases and 13 157 deaths have been described in Italy, representing a global share of 5.1% and 28.9% for incidence and mortality, respectively. In Italy, we report the analysis of the Italian Medical Council on 909 patients who died from COVID-19, of whom 16.5% were cancer patients. The population was enriched with subjects with multiple co-morbid non-communicable diseases, with less than 1% of the population presenting no co-morbid conditions. At the patient level, we identified nine patients referred to our department in the last two months who were receiving standard of care or experimental medications in the curative and palliative settings. The median age was 68 years (range: 42–79 years), and patients carried a median of one co-morbid condition (0–2); two out of nine patients presented with severe COVID-19 presentation, and were receiving inpatient care. None of the patients receiving immunotherapy experienced severe adverse outcomes, and four patients were discharged with complete reversal of the clinical syndrome and SARS-CoV-2 clearance. Learning from the experience of countries with a high burden, efforts must be made to assure the access of cancer patients to treatments, prioritizing the cancer health interventions based on their intrinsic value, and limiting the exposure to an unacceptable risk of infection for both health providers and patients. Any significant work in the design and implementation of health system actions, including in clinical care, must be framed as an initiative under the Global Response Agenda and through a community approach, with the intention of pursuing common goals to tackle COVID-19 and cancer, as ‘One Community’ working for ‘One Health’s.
1% of patients with COVID-19 in the series reported as cancer patients, 50% experienced a severe or fatal event.
in Italy, 16.5% of patients dying from COVID-19 are cancer patients.
In the first Italian series of cancer patients with COVID-19 receiving active treatment, 22% experienced severe presentation.
Research is emphasized to enhance knowledge on COVID-19 & cancer care, under a global response through community healthcare.
An intersectoral line must be pursued for this PH emergency, providing prevention & control measures to cancer patients.