The Latest Developments in Cancer Research and Treatment

September 2021.

News breaks in the cancer arena all the time. Sometimes it’s big — like word that a breakthrough drug has increased survival for a hard-to-treat cancer. Sometimes it’s smaller. Any of it may matter to you and your family as you navigate your cancer journey. We do our best to keep you up-to-date with a monthly roundup of some of the most significant recent cancer news.

App Data Underscores COVID-19 Vaccine Safety for Those Undergoing Cancer Treatment App Data Underscores COVID-19 Vaccine Safety for Those Undergoing Cancer Treatment.

What’s New The majority of patients receiving treatment for cancer can safely receive a COVID-19 vaccine without interrupting or delaying their treatment, according to research presented at this year’s European Society for Medical Oncology ESMO’s annual conference.

Research Details Researchers analyzed data from 1,069 patients with a variety of cancers, including people with breast, gynecological, gastrointestinallung, and genitourinary cancer, who were actively receiving treatment and who were users of the Belong.Life app to learn about their experiences after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. Overall, 82 percent of patients who received a vaccine experienced no or mild side effects that, in most cases, lasted only one to three days. Side effects included sore arm, headache, fatigue, and high fever. Ninety-six percent of patients continued their cancer treatment without delay or interruption.

Why This Matters Cancer treatment can reduce immune response, making patients more vulnerable to the negative consequences of COVID-19. But questions have arisen as to how well patients would tolerate vaccination, which can cause side effects, in this population. This is one of the first studies to directly look at patients with cancer on active treatment in real-world settings. The findings reinforce that the majority will experience only mild, short-lived side effects from the vaccines. Additionally, the vaccines do not appear to negatively impact cancer treatment itself.

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