More than 16,000 people with COVID-19 and cancer died between March and December 2020 in the United States, according to data published in JAMA Oncology.
The data revealed 13,419 COVID-19 deaths with cancer as a contributing cause and 3142 cancer deaths with COVID-19 as a contributing cause.
For this study, researchers used the Multiple Cause of Death database to identify deaths that occurred from March 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020, among US residents.
The researchers identified:
- 497,965 non-COVID-19 cancer deaths
- 337, 393 non-cancer-related COVID-19 deaths
- 13,419 cancer-related COVID-19 deaths
- 3142 COVID-19-related cancer deaths.
When compared with non-COVID-19-related cancer deaths, the deaths caused by both cancer and COVID-19 were more likely to have occurred in:
- Large metropolitan areas
- November or December 2020
- People 85 years of age or older
- American Indian, Alaska Native, Black, or Hispanic patients
- Inpatient, nursing home, or long-term care settings.
Deaths related to COVID-19 and cancer were more likely to occur in patients with hematologic neoplasms, when compared with non-COVID-19-related cancer deaths. The percentage of patients with hematologic cancers was 25.5% among cancer-related COVID-19 deaths, 13.7% among COVID-19-related cancer deaths, and 9.5% among non-COVID-19-related cancer deaths.
Among patients who died of cancer alone, the most common cancer type was lung cancer (22.5%).
A novel finding of this research is that prostate cancer was more prevalent among deaths caused by both cancer and COVID-19 than among non-COVID-19-related cancer deaths. According to the researchers, this finding warrants further investigation.
“Ongoing monitoring of the mortality burden from COVID-19 variants (eg, delta and omicron) among patients with cancer is warranted, especially after vaccines became available,” the researchers concluded.
Disclosures: Some study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.
Han X, Hu X, Zhao J, Jemal A, Yabroff KR. Identification of deaths caused by cancer and COVID-19 in the US during March to December 2020. JAMA Oncol. Published online September 29, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2022.4315