US doctors and scientists investigating if COVID-19 virus is to blame for “unusual” spike of rare and deadly cancers after pandemic

Saturday, June 8, 2024 - US doctors and scientists are currently investigating whether the COVID-19 virus is to blame for an “unusual” spike in rare and deadly cancers after the pandemic.

The group of medical experts banded together to launch research studies and share data after concluding there was compelling evidence among their own patients to suggest a link between COVID and cancer diagnoses, the Washington Post reported.

“I’ve been in practice 23 years and have never seen anything like this,” Kashyap Patel, an oncologist in South Carolina and CEO of Carolina Blood and Cancer Care Associates, said of the uptick of cases he’s witnessed.

Patel, who is calling for a national registry to analyze trends, said he has has already collected data from dozens of his own patients showing a possible link between unusual cancers and long COVID.

“Hopefully, we’re wrong,” Afshin Beheshti, president of the COVID-19 International Research Team, said. “But everything is, unfortunately, pushing toward that being the case.”

Beheshti, whose background is in cancer biology and is among those trying to piece together the puzzle, said he noticed during the pandemic that cases and studies were showing COVID was causing widespread inflammation and infection in organs susceptible to cancer stem cell development.

“The signals seemed to be related to early cancer changes,” he said.

There are no real-world data or definitive studies yet on whether COVID has actually contributed to a spike in cancer cases.

The US-based doctors are calling on the federal government to prioritize the research given such answers could affect treatment for cancer patients, as well as management of the disease, over the next several decades.

“We are completely under-investigating this virus,” Douglas C. Wallace, a University of Pennsylvania geneticist and evolutionary biologist, told the outlet.

“The effects of repeatedly getting this throughout our lives is going to be much more significant than people are thinking.”

“I would say most governments don’t want to think about long COVID and much less long COVID and cancer,” he continued. “It cost them so much to deal with COVID. So there is very little funding for the long-term effects of the virus. I don’t think that’s a wise choice.”

Wallace is currently probing how and if COVID affects cell energy production and cancer vulnerability.

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