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Topic: Is "cancer free" an underlying health condition??

Forum: All things COVID-19 or coronavirus —

A place to discuss the impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) on you and the ones you love.

Posted on: May 15, 2020 10:21AM

viewfinder wrote:

I've read that with COVID-19, people who are older (particularly over 70) and people with underlying health conditions, such as chronic lung disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and cancer appear to be at higher risk for major complications.

I am 75 and considered "cancer free." So do I have one risk or two? I'm taking anastrozole.

Thank you!

"You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,” said the Lion. – C. S. Lewis Dx 4/2018, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+, HER2+ Surgery 6/11/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 9/13/2018 Hormonal Therapy 10/13/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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May 15, 2020 10:27AM ruthbru wrote:

Hmmm....good question which probably has a different answer for different people. I am far out from treatment & didn't have any lasting side effects from it that have impaired my health; so for me, I wouldn't consider it an underlying health condition. If someone is in treatment, or has ongoing health problems either from cancer itself or resulting from their treatments; then I would say that it would be an underlying health condition (this is just my opinion, I'm not a doctor or nurse).

"Invisible threads are the strongest ties." Friedrich Nietzsche Dx 2/2007, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/11 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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May 15, 2020 02:01PM AliceBastable wrote:

That's a sensible answer. If you're not in active treatment (chemo or radiation) and don't have any lingering side effects, cancer wouldn't be relevant for Covid risks. Cancer-free means just what it says.

Endometrial cancer 2010, basal cell multiples, breast cancer 2018, kidney cancer 2018. Boring. Hope it stays that way. Dx 5/2018, ILC, Left, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/11/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 8/8/2018 Radiation Therapy 10/29/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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May 16, 2020 07:14AM viewfinder wrote:

Thanks so much for the well-reasoned replies!

Just checking because I'm still taking anastrozole. Because of the coronavirus, my doctor told me to stop taking naproxen that I take for pain. Was wondering if other medicines have that caution.

"You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,” said the Lion. – C. S. Lewis Dx 4/2018, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+, HER2+ Surgery 6/11/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 9/13/2018 Hormonal Therapy 10/13/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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May 16, 2020 07:19AM viewfinder wrote:

Evidently " The World Health Organization initially recommended against their use. However, they reversed that recommendation several days later and no longer recommend against these anti-inflammatory drugs."Disease & Respiratory Health Coronavirus

Is it safe to take naproxen to treat coronavirus symptoms?

https://www.webmd.com/lung/qa/is-it-safe-to-take-n...

"You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,” said the Lion. – C. S. Lewis Dx 4/2018, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+, HER2+ Surgery 6/11/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 9/13/2018 Hormonal Therapy 10/13/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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May 16, 2020 08:15AM - edited May 16, 2020 08:16AM by Beesie

My understanding is that the AIs are not considered "active" treatment and do not impact one's immunity. So I think that means that in the current covid-19 environment it does not represent an increased risk or pre-existing condition.

Dx 9/15/2005 Right, 7cm+, DCIS-Mi, Stage IA, Gr 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR- ** Dx 01/16/2019 Left, 8mm, IDC, Stage IA, Gr 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) ** Surgery 11/30/2005 MX Right, 03/06/2019 MX Left ** Hormonal Therapy 05/2019 Letrozole
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May 16, 2020 01:51PM Salamandra wrote:

I asked my doctor about it. She said that based on my blood test levels I would not be considered at any different level of risk than anyone else my age.

It does drive me crazy that hormonal treatment isn't considered active treatment, when it can have so much impact on our lives. I also wouldn't be surprised if there were more health impacts and interactions associated with it than we are aware of. One of my docs mentioned (careful to specify that it was anecdotal and not research-based) that he's noticed that women on hormone therapy tend to take longer to recover from things like colds.

That said, I can't say I'm particular concerned about the interaction with the corona virus now. The impacts of the disease seem so poorly understood right now, and that I feel like there are probably five other possible completely unidentified things about my life/health that could have more impact than my hormone therapy. Otherwise healthy 30-somethings are dying of stroke and blood clots, and a 107 year old just recovered. At first, they were saying that asthma was likely a dangerous underlying condition, and now they're realizing it's not.

That's fair! I have so much respect for the scientific process and the fact that this kind of information requires time and study to emerge, and good science means being able to admit you were wrong before. But without more data, I'm not going to worry about therapy that I know has beneficial impact.

Dx at 39. 1.8cm. Oncotype 9. Dx 9/19/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 10/18/2018 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Hormonal Therapy 11/1/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy 12/3/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 12/19/2019 Fareston (toremifene)
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May 16, 2020 02:50PM Beesie wrote:

Salamandra, the issue of "active" treatment came up for me when I was being interviewed for a clinical trial. Endocrine therapy was not considered active treatment for the purposes of participation in this trial. I've also seen it referenced in the same way for medical travel insurance - rates are not increased once you are X number of years past diagnosis / out of active treatment, with endocrine therapy not considered active treatment.

And I found this in a PDF from Premera:

ACTIVE VS. HISTORICAL CANCER DEFINITIONS

Cancer is considered active when:

  • The patient is currently and actively being treated and managed for
  • cancer. Scenarios demonstrating active cancer treatment/status include:

    o Current chemotherapy, radiation, or anti-neoplasm drug therapy

    o Current pathology revealing cancer

    o A newly diagnosed patient awaiting treatment

    o Affirmation of current disease management

    o Refusal of therapeutic treatment by patient or watchful waiting

  • The cancerous organ has been removed or partially removed and the patient is still receiving ongoing treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation.
  • .

    Cancer is considered historical when:

  • The cancer was successfully treated and the patient isn't receiving treatment.
  • The cancer was excised or eradicated and there's no evidence of recurrence and further treatment isn't needed.
  • The patient had cancer and is coming back for surveillance of recurrence.
  • The patient is currently on adjuvant therapy (like Lupron or Tamoxifen) for prophylactic purposes.
  • .

    That definition makes sense to me. It puts the treatment in context of where the patient stands with the disease and the treatment's role relative to the disease. It doesn't say or imply that there aren't side effects or health impacts from endocrine therapy; we know there are many impacts and the additional testing done on those who take Tamoxifen (endometrial cancer screening, for example) and AIs (dexa scans, for example) is proof that the medical and insurance communities are well aware of these side effects.

  • Dx 9/15/2005 Right, 7cm+, DCIS-Mi, Stage IA, Gr 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR- ** Dx 01/16/2019 Left, 8mm, IDC, Stage IA, Gr 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) ** Surgery 11/30/2005 MX Right, 03/06/2019 MX Left ** Hormonal Therapy 05/2019 Letrozole

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