FRIDAY, Dec. 18, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Children with cancer don't have an increased risk of severe COVID-19, a new British study concludes.
Researchers analyzed COVID-19 infections in 54 children with cancer. They found that most had no symptoms or only mild infections. Only 5% required intensive care support, and there were no deaths.
"The COVID-19 pandemic spread rapidly in the early part of 2020 and there were initial concerns about the severity of the infection in adults with cancer. Whilst children overall seemed to be less severely affected, little was known about the effects in children with cancer," said study author Gerard Millen, a fellow in the University of Birmingham's Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit.
The results are reassuring to parents that children with cancer are at no greater risk of developing serious symptoms of COVID-19 than other children, Millen added in a university news release.
All British hospitals that care for children with cancer could enroll in the study.
"This project has been critical in allowing clinicians to analyze real-time data and provide evidence to reassure families of vulnerable children and young people with cancer that they are not at increased risk of severe COVID-19 infection," said study co-author Pam Kearns, a pediatric oncologist and director of the university's Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences.
This new information may enable parents to make informed decisions about family life during the pandemic, said a representative of Britain's Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group.
The study was published recently in the British Journal of Cancer.
Cancer Research UK has more on COVID-19 and children with cancer.
SOURCE: University of Birmingham, news release, Dec. 14, 2020