Researchers looking for cancer patients to study effects of COVID-19

Researchers looking for cancer patients to study effects of COVID-19

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - It seems like every day, something new is being learned about COVID-19 and how it hits people differently. But what about someone already fighting cancer?

Researchers are now calling on cancer patients to help them learn more about the virus in a nationwide study.

COVID-19 is not always an easy battle, but for someone battling cancer and the coronavirus at the same time, it can be especially difficult.

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“Do I continue to postpone my therapy for my cancer with the fear of contracting an illness, or a bigger question of how will it impact my outcome of my cancer treatment because I contracted the infection. That’s a huge burden on a patient who already has a large burden, emotional burden from their malignancy,” said hematologist and medical oncologist, Dr. Vince Cataldo.

At the Mary Bird Perkins - Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center, doctors and researchers are conducting a new observational study on cancer patients who have tested positive for COVID-19. They are looking to see how COVID-19 could possibly affect those patients’ diagnosis, treatments, and their overall health.

“Just like every study, we hope that we learn something now that can actually impact the way we do things in the future in case we’re affected by further infections in the future pandemics,” Dr. Cataldo said. “To know just how infections can affect patients with cancer who are undergoing therapy for their cancer.”

The clinical research trial plans to enroll 2,000 patients nationwide. Louisiana has already enrolled three patients. They are hoping more patients will want to participate.

“People should understand participating in a clinical trial is important; it’s how we move the needle forward in cancer treatments,” said Cyndi Knox, director of clinical research at Mary Bird Perkins. “So I think that patients may be scared, but I think if they just call, they can learn about what’s it’s like to be in a clinical trial and then they can make an informed decision on whether they want to participate or not.”

If you are interested in participating in the study, you can email

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