Willis-Knighton Cancer Center is among more than 80 cancer institutions and organizations across the United States that make up the COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium (CCC19). The consortium was created because of concern for the extreme vulnerability of cancer patients during this pandemic and an acute lack of knowledge of the true impact of COVID-19 on cancer patients.
The newly formed group is headed by Vanderbilt University and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center with other participating centers including those at Willis-Knighton, Johns Hopkins University, Mayo Clinic, and Massachusetts General.
“The consortium is launching an urgent effort to rapidly gather data (through registry) on the elevated risks of complications from COVID-19 faced by cancer patients,” says Briana Barrow McCollough, clinical trials manager at Willis-Knighton Cancer Center.
Healthcare professionals will share information and approaches to patients being treated for cancer and who also have or are presumed to have COVID-19. “This information should drive further studies of COVID-19 in patients with cancer and why they might be at particularly high risk, how they are being managed, what complications occur and overall outcomes,” McCollough says.
“Because cancer patients are immunocompromised, they are naturally at a higher risk of infection with coronavirus. Additionally, they have to present more frequently at doctors’ offices and hospitals placing them at a higher risk,” says Lane Rosen, MD, director of radiation oncology at Willis-Knighton Cancer Center.
“There is a lack of quality data regarding the impact of coronavirus on cancer patients. It is important that cancer centers collect this information to assist with cure and prevention. We are proud to have joined a coalition of some of the largest cancer centers in the country to collect data on coronavirus in oncology patients,” Dr. Rosen says.
Oncologists at Willis-Knighton Cancer Center and patients with cancer in the United States will continue to navigate one of the most challenging issues of this crisis – whether to initiate or continue chemotherapy or radiation therapy, adds Prakash Peddi, MD, hematologist/oncologist.
Active cancer patients and cancer survivors of Willis-Knighton Cancer Center and those who have tested positive or are presumed positive for COVID-19 through Willis-Knighton testing are eligible to participate in this clinical trial registry. Patient identities will not be included in the registry survey, and patients need do nothing other than identify who they are and whether they are an active cancer patient or survivor. Contact your medical oncologist, radiation oncologist or Briana Barrow McCollough at (318) 212-8671 if you are willing to be included in the registry.