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Squamous cell carcinoma patients, at high risk for contracting the new virus

By Shaniqua Williams

Posted on April 03rd, 2020

People who struggle with squamous cell carcinoma are more susceptible to infection with the new virus, since the chemotherapy and radiotherapy they undergo weaken their immune system to a great extent. Consequently, they should take extra precautions during the pandemic.

As the second most common form of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma occurs in over 1 million people in the U.S. every year. While not as aggressive as melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma is still a very serious disease, which annually claims the lives of 15,000 individuals throughout the country. One aspect which makes squamous cell carcinoma a dangerous and life-threatening disease is the fact that, unlike other skin cancers, it can spread to adjacent tissue, lymph nodes and bones, thereby affecting the entire body. Because of the cancer itself, but also because of treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, people who suffer from squamous cell carcinoma are significantly more prone to contracting the new virus than the demographics which do not have such a diagnosis.

What causes squamous cell carcinoma?

The main cause of squamous cell carcinoma is frequent exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or tanning beds. However, there are other risk factors which contribute to the development of squamous cell carcinoma, such as a history of skin cancer in the family, having fair skin, being a man, recurring infections and skin inflammation from burns or scars, being over 50, infection with HPV, exposure to radiation, having blonde or red hair, as well as a weak immune system.

When it comes to symptoms, people who suffer from squamous cell carcinoma will have their skin exhibit abnormalities such as firm and red nodules, a new sore on old scars or ulcers, a red sore inside their mouth, a rough and scaly patch on their lip and open sores which bleed or crust and persist for weeks. It is essential to seek medical attention immediately after you notice one or more of the aforementioned symptoms on your skin, as treatment is necessary to prevent cancer from spreading to other areas of the body.

Squamous cell carcinoma and asbestos exposure

Although exposure to asbestos has not yet been proven to lead to squamous cell carcinoma, there are several medical studies which suggest a connection between the two. For instance, a research published in the journal Molecular and Clinical Oncology in 2017 reveals that squamous cell carcinoma was present in 38.4% of the people who took part in the study, namely 146 men who were working in industries with heavy asbestos exposure - shipbuilding and constructions - and who were also smokers. Thereby, a link between asbestos exposure and squamous cell carcinoma may exist, since asbestos fibers are microscopic and can easily attach to the skin, subsequently causing a form of skin cancer.

Why are squamous cell carcinoma patients more prone to contracting the coronavirus?

At the moment, the U.S. is still the country with the largest number of diagnosed cases of coronavirus, namely over 3 million. It is a known fact that the new virus targets primarily the respiratory system. Among the people with a high risk of infection with coronavirus there are individuals who suffer from squamous cell carcinoma, as their immune system is compromised due to the cancer treatment they undergo. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy weaken the immune system to a great extent, which is why people who struggle with squamous cell carcinoma are more susceptible to contracting the new virus.

Recognizing the symptoms of coronavirus is crucial during the epidemic. The main symptoms of the new virus are shortness of breath, a persisting cough and fever. However, people who have squamous cell carcinoma are also more likely to experience serious health complications if they become infected with coronavirus, which include:

  • severe muscle pain
  • heart attack
  • irregular heart rate
  • acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • fatigue
  • cardiovascular shock

Consequently, if you notice a new onset of symptoms, we strongly advise you to seek medical attention immediately, as the new virus may be fatal to you. By now, over 5,000 people lost their lives to the coronavirus in the U.S. Only a medical professional will be able to tell you whether you became infected with the new virus or have the common flu.

If you are a squamous cell carcinoma patient, you should take extra precautions to avoid contacting the new virus. Some of the protective measures you need to follow in order to prevent coronavirus infection are:

  • wash your hands when you come home from outside for at least 20 seconds with soap and water
  • avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes if you have not thoroughly washed your hands previously
  • only leave your home if there are emergencies such as purchasing groceries or medication
  • disinfect the objects and surfaces you use frequently on a regular basis
  • wear a face mask if you have symptoms to avoid contaminating other people
  • keep up to date with the news concerning the new virus to learn about other protective measures you should take to prevent infection

People who have squamous cell carcinoma may be eligible for compensation

While squamous cell carcinoma is rarely the consequence of asbestos exposure, people in this situation are entitled to financial compensation. If you struggle with squamous cell carcinoma and have a history of occupational asbestos exposure, please reach out to us and our medical experts will examine you to see whether asbestos fibers are present in your body. In the regrettable case the tests are positive, our attorneys, who have been pursuing asbestos exposure cases for the last 30 years, will help you file a claim with asbestos trust funds, as well as with the VA, if you are a veteran. Eventually, you will recover the maximum amount of money you are eligible for, which can also help you afford superior healthcare and treatment.