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Patients with gastrointestinal cancer, at high risk of COVID-19 complications

By Michael Bartlett

Posted on March 18th, 2020

Because people who struggle with gastrointestinal cancer have a very poor immune system, they are more likely to experience severe COVID-19 symptoms and complications that could be fatal. The reason for which they have such a weak immune system is the cancer treatment they undergo.

As everyone has become aware of until now, coronavirus is rapidly spreading throughout the world, causing panic and chaos among numerous communities. Even though no one is safe from the virus, certain demographics are at high risk of developing serious complications if they contract it, such as the elderly, children, and people with cancer, since they have a very weak immune system.

Why people suffering from gastrointestinal cancer could be at a higher risk for complications?

As people who suffer from gastrointestinal cancer have a very weak immune system, they are susceptible to experiencing more severe symptoms of COVID-29, which can lead to serious complications. The reason for which they have such a weak immune system is the cancer treatment they undergo, be it chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery. Since gastrointestinal cancer treatment is so aggressive, the immune system of the person undergoing it on a regular basis decreases dramatically and, as a consequence, they are at high-risk for infection.

The health complications patients with gastrointestinal cancer who contracted the virus can develop are shortness of breath, confusion, difficulty standing up, chest pain, and bluish lips or face. Infection with the coronavirus occurs mostly through breathing in the virus from the air, but it can also take place by touching contaminated surfaces and not washing your hands properly afterward. When the infection is located in the upper airway, the risk of severe complications is lower in cancer patients. However, if the infection reaches the windpipe and, subsequently, the peripheral branches of the respiratory system and the lung tissue, the risk increases considerably. The lungs are vital organs and, if they are seriously affected by the coronavirus, they will become significantly damaged, placing the person suffering from cancer at high risk of life-threatening complications.

Safety measures for people who struggle with gastrointestinal cancer

To make sure you, as a gastrointestinal cancer patient, remain safe during the coronavirus pandemic, you should follow the advice below:

  • avoid coming in contact with people who look sick
  • wash your hands carefully for at least 20 seconds
  • avoid crowds as much as possible
  • do not touch your face if you did not wash your hands thoroughly priorly
  • clean your phone, computer, doorknobs, and desk with sanitizing wipes regularly
  • seek medical attention immediately if you experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, a persisting cough, fever, sore throat or runny nose

Gastrointestinal cancer and asbestos exposure

Gastrointestinal cancer, as the name implies, occurs in the stomach and the intestines, being the fifth most common malignant disease in the world at the moment. While 1 in 95 men will develop gastrointestinal cancer in his lifetime, 1 in 154 women will receive this awful diagnosis. When it comes to what causes it, the following are only some of the risk factors:

  • a diet low in fruits and vegetables and high in salty food
  • infection with the bacteria H. pylori
  • chronic stomach inflammation
  • tobacco smoking
  • a family history of gastrointestinal cancer
  • asbestos exposure on the job

The latter cause has only recently been revealed by medical studies. During the last century, asbestos would be heavily used by numerous industries, which led to 20% of the people who worked as electricians, construction workers, boilermakers, power plant workers, insulators, shipyard workers and other jobs to develop terrible diseases. While lung disease is the most prevalent among these occupational groups, they can also develop gastrointestinal cancer, as asbestos fibers, once they enter the body, remain there forever. By traveling through the bloodstream, asbestos fibers can reach various organs, including the stomach or the intestines, to which they will attach themselves to. Afterward, they will gradually cause inflammation and tissue scarring, giving way to cancer.

Gastrointestinal cancer patients may be eligible for compensation

If you suffer from gastrointestinal cancer which is the result of occupational or military asbestos exposure, you are entitled to compensation from asbestos trust funds and the VA, if you are a veteran. With over 25 years of professional experience, our attorneys will help you recover the maximum compensation you qualify for, as they specialize in this area of practice. All you have to do is send your lawyer your employment or military records, as well as your medical records, documents that will accompany your asbestos claim as evidence of asbestos exposure and of related diagnosis. Thereby, your involvement in the legal process will be minimal. However, it is important to keep in mind that asbestos exposure cases have a statute of limitations of 3 years in most states which, if it expires, you will no longer be eligible for compensation. For this reason, we strongly advise you to take legal action as soon as possible. Finally, you should know that, if you have gastrointestinal cancer, asbestos fibers must also be present in your lungs to qualify for compensation. Our medical specialists offer free of charge asbestos screening to the victims of asbestos exposure and will carefully examine your most recent chest X-ray to determine whether you have asbestos fibers in your lungs.