COVID-19 Risks When You Have Mantle Cell Lymphoma

COVID-19 Risks When You Have Mantle Cell Lymphoma

What are the COVID-19 risks when you have mantle cell lymphoma? The novel coronavirus is a new strain of coronavirus that has affected lakhs of people across the globe. It has also resulted in high death rates. While the infection is like the flu, it triggers severe complications in people who suffer from any underlying medical condition. So, if you suffer from cancer called mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), then you face a greater risk of not just suffering from the disease but also severe complications, which can lead to death.

COVID-19 Risks When You Have Mantle Cell Lymphoma

What makes MCL dangerous during the pandemic situation? It is because the disease can weaken your immune system. Some of the treatments you undergo to manage the disease can also make you vulnerable to coronavirus infection as your immune system fails to defend against the harmful virus. So, you face a high risk of catching the virus from an infected person. And, when you do get sick, the infection causes severe symptoms. But, you can lower the risk by taking some proactive steps. Read ahead to know more:

About Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL)

Before knowing about MCL, you need to know about Lymphoma. It is the general name given to different subtypes of cancer that are related. These types of cancers arise from lymphocyte, a type of white blood cell. Lymphoma is usually classified into types:

  • Hodgkin Lymphoma (HL)
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL)

MCL is one of the seventy different subtypes of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Lymphoma is a condition arising in any one of the three types of lymphocytes in your blood, namely:

About Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL)

B cells (B lymphocytes)

The lymphocytes make antibodies in your blood to fight off infection effectively.

T cells (T lymphocytes)

The T cells help your body fight infection as well as attack cancer cells when it is detected early.

NK cells (Natural Killer)

As the name suggests NK cells attack harmful pathogens like cancer cells or viruses from your body.

T-cell lymphomas are less common than B-cell lymphomas. You can find lymphocytes in the lymphatic system, which include the lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are located in all parts of your body (like tonsils, spleen, and other parts) and have a small-bean like structure.

MCL is the disease developing due to a malignant transformation of your B lymphocyte. The malignancy occurs in the mantle zone (the outer edge of your lymph node follicle). It results in the abnormal growth of the transformed B lymphocytes. So, it leads to the accumulation of the lymphoma cells, which results in the lymph node enlargement. These lymph nodes can become large or develop in other parts of your body. In such cases, they are called tumors. The abnormal MCL cells enter your blood and lymphatic channel and spread to other tissues (like the gastrointestinal tract, liver, and marrow) or lymph nodes.

Know More About COVID-19

Know More About COVID-19

Before knowing about the COVID-19 risks when you have mantle cell lymphoma, you need to know about the pandemic. COVID-19 or coronavirus infection is the infectious disease that started in Wuhan, China in late 2019. Within a few months, the infection has spread to most of the countries around the world. It is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). SARS-CoV-2 is the newly discovered pathogen belonging to the coronavirus family. The highly contagious virus is new to scientists with no earlier cases in humans. While the virus belongs to the Influenza viruses and SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV), SARS-CoV-2 is a different strain with its characteristics.

Transmission Of COVID-19

Unlike other coronavirus strains, SARS-CoV-2 is a new virus. So, no one has prior immunity to it. No vaccine is available to keep you safe from the virus. You can conclude that the entire human population is prone to suffering from novel coronavirus infection. While the novel coronavirus strain transmitted from animal to human, human-to-human transmission spreads the infection to a larger crowd. It mainly spreads via respiratory droplets from an infected person when they cough, sneeze, or talks. Scientists are trying to find how easily, as well as sustaining the infection exists among people. But, based on the current evidence available, infected respiratory droplets are the main transmission mode.

Transmission Of COVID-19

But, it can also spread through touching an infected surface. When you touch a hard surface contaminated by SARS-CoV-2 and then touch your face, mouth, eyes, or nose, it leads to the virus entering your bloodstream.

Symptoms Of COVID-19

How can you detect if you have coronavirus infection or not? A majority of people exposed to the virus can see signs within two to fourteen days. The common signs associated with the novel coronavirus infection are:

  • Fever (body temperature 100.4 F or higher)
  • Tiredness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain (myalgia)
  • Coughing
  • Joint pain (arthralgia)
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Chills
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of sense of taste or smell

Less Common Symptoms

Besides the above-mentioned symptoms, people can also suffer from less common signs like the following:

  • Coughing up blood from the respiratory tract (hemoptysis)
  • Diarrhea
  • Conjunctival congestion

You can also suffer from the symptoms due to other medical conditions other than COVID-19. But, you need to consult a doctor to check the real reason causing the problem. A healthcare professional can offer you the right advice to deal with the issue better. In 80% of the people, the symptoms are mild and they can recover from it without any treatment or complications. But, some people, especially the ones having other underlying medication can develop serious complications like breathing difficulties. Such people can even face death.

General Preventive Measures For COVID1-9

The WHO has offered some guidelines to avoid the spread of the disease and keep yourself safe from the novel coronavirus infection. These preventive measures help common people take necessary action to minimize the risk of COVID-19:

Wash Your Hands

Wash Your Hands

You need to wash your hands frequently and properly to eliminate the germs. Always follow the right technique to wash your hands. Use soap and water to generate good lather. Then, rub the front and the back of the hands well. Never miss the area between your fingers, nails, and thumb. Rub for at least fifteen to twenty seconds. You need to wash your hands before eating, touching your face, or cooking food. It is also essential to wash your hands after going to the toilet, eating, touching any surface, or going out. Frequent hand washing can reduce the risk of virus spread.

Use Sanitizer

When you have no access to soap or water, then use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol or more.

Social Distancing

If you know someone is ill, then maintain a distance of at least six feet or 1.8 meters. When you go out in public maintain the social distancing.

Self-Isolate

If you see the symptoms of the disease, then stay at home. Become a responsible person and try not to go out in public and increase the chances of virus spread. Stay in a room with a bathroom to avoid contact with other members of the family.

Cover Your Mouth

Use a tissue to cover your nose as well as mouth when you feel the urge to cough or sneeze. Dispose of the tissue in a garbage can. Also, use a facemask when you go out. It is helpful when asymptomatic people go out. Such people may not show any signs of the disease and have high chances of spreading it. Using a mask can avoid transmission.

Clean And Disinfect

It is essential to clean and disinfect the surfaces. Try to focus on high-risk surfaces like the countertop, doorknobs, and other areas you touch frequently.

Avoid Touching With Unwashed Hands

You need to wash your hands frequently. It is because your hands touch different surfaces frequently and then you touch your face, nose, eyes, or mouth with it. So, the transmission of the virus occurs due to unwashed hands. Unwashed hands pose more risk of transmission. Therefore, wash your hands before touching your nose, mouth, eyes, or face.

High COVID Risks When You Have Mantle Cell Lymphoma

You face high COVID-19 risks when you have mantle cell lymphoma. The risk factors associated with the condition are:

  • If you are undergoing chemotherapy for MCL.
  • People who have received treatment for MCL within the last year.
  • You have received a stem cell transplant in the last year.
  • You are currently taking medications to curb the immune system.
  • People who are over 65 years of age.

You need to talk to your doctor regarding the concerns. Discuss your treatment options to ensure you can get protection from coronavirus infection.

Cancer Treatments Increasing Your COVID-19 Risks When You Have Mantle Cell Lymphoma

When you undergo cancer treatments, the risk of catching COVID-19 increases. How it can affect your chances of suffering from coronavirus infection.

Treatments For Cancer And COVID-19

One of the main treatments suggested by the doctor for mantle cell lymphoma combines different chemotherapy drugs along with antibody treatment. So, your doctor combines four chemotherapy drugs along with Rituxan (monoclonal antibody rituximab). The drug combination is referred to as R-CHOP. Your doctor can also suggest combining Rituxan with bendamustine (Treanda). These treatments can weaken your immune system. So, you face a high risk of catching infections like COVID-19. Chemotherapy used to treat MCL kills cancerous cells. But, it also destroys normal cells like white blood cells as well as immune cells in your body. So, it lowers your body’s ability to fight infections. You suffer from the condition known as immunosuppression.

Clinic Visits Causing COVID-19 Risks When You Have Mantle Cell Lymphoma

If you suffer from MCL, you need to undergo treatments at a clinic. When you visit clinics frequently, you have high chances of coming in contact with someone who has the disease. While the doctor follows all the guidelines to offer you protection, your condition makes you vulnerable to catch contagious infections like novel coronavirus infection. Therefore, you need to consider tweaking your treatment plan to lower your risk of catching the infection.

Do You Face High COVID-19 Risks When You Have Mantle Cell Lymphoma?

COVID-19 outbreak has become a pandemic. But, it is caused by a new strain of coronavirus. SARS-CoV-2 is new to scientists. So, there is not much information on how the virus affects people, especially the ones suffering from cancer. According to the study conducted among the infected people, scientists have discovered that the people coming under high-risk groups are more susceptible to getting it and suffer from severe complications, including death. It is because cancer and the subsequent treatments weaken your immune system. So, you become more vulnerable to infections, including coronavirus infection.

Types Of Cancer Increasing COVID-19 Risks

Patients who suffer from different cancer types can face an increased risk of developing COVID-19. So, if someone suffers from hematological malignancies like AML (acute myeloid leukemia), myeloma, and lymphoma have a high risk of suffering from a weak immune system. You face high COVID-19 risks when you have mantle cell lymphoma.

Cancer Treatments Increasing COVID-19 Risks

People undergoing different cancer treatments like radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy have a weak immune system. So, anyone undergoing such treatments has a high chance of getting infected by SARS-CoV-2. Patients who are not receiving active treatment for cancer also face the risk of suffering from coronavirus infection. It is because the past cancer therapies are usually long-lasting.

Assessing The COVID-19 Risks When You Have Mantle Cell Lymphoma

In all human beings, the immune system offers protection against harmful bacteria, viruses, and other dangerous foreign invaders. The immune system is the defense system consisting of white blood cells that help ward off these harmful pathogens. So, it avoids you from getting sick. You face high COVID-19 risks when you have Mantle Cell Lymphoma as the disease affects your white blood cells. It starts in the B-cell lymphocyte (a type of white blood cell). So, it causes abnormal division of the B-cells. But, the newly formed B-cells are not healthy. So, these cells cannot fight off the infection like the healthy B cells. When you get exposed to SARS-CoV-2, you have a high risk of getting sick. You will also suffer from severe complications compared to other people without MCL.

MCL can also cause poor absorption of nutrition. So, it weakens your immune system. For a healthy immune system, you need the right amount of calories, vitamins, minerals, and protein. Only a healthy immune system can fight off the harmful pathogens. The malignant cells tend to eat all the nutrition for your body. Due to nausea and appetite loss you due to undergoing various cancer treatments like chemotherapy and/or radiation, you will find it difficult to eat properly. So, it can lead to malnutrition and a high risk of suffering from coronavirus infections and their complications.

Steps To Avoid COID-19 Risks When You Have Mantle Cell Lymphoma

People who suffer from MCL (mantle cell lymphoma), then you need to maintain caution. MCL is cancer affecting the white blood cells in your body. So, you have a weak immune system. Therefore, you need to take careful steps to avoid coronavirus infection caused by SARS-CoV-2. Your immune system acts as the defense system for your body. It wards off diseases by fighting off the harmful pathogens as well as other microorganisms entering your body. With a weak immune system due to MCL and cancer treatment (like chemotherapy or radiation), your body may not have the strength to fight off novel coronavirus. In such cases, you have to follow the guidelines suggested below:

Review Treatment With Doctor

When you are suffering serious issues like MCL, it is important to review your treatment with the doctor. So, if you are on a non-oral treatment like undergoing chemotherapy through IV, then discuss with the doctor regarding a change. You need to look for ways to cut down the hospital or doctor’s office visits. Check if your doctor can switch you to an oral medication instead of IV chemo. If it is not possible to change it, then ask your doctor to change the chemotherapy schedule to reduce your hospital visits.

More Virtual Visits

Instead of in-person visits, now doctors encourage telemedicine. So, it helps you get in touch with the doctor virtually instead of meeting your doctor face-to-face. You can ask the doctor regarding the issues you suffer or you need an in-person visit. During the virtual appointment, you can also discuss the different issues you deal with electronically.

Discuss Growth Factor Support

You have to discuss growth factor support with your doctor. It is the biological therapy that is used to increase certain types of blood cells in your blood. So, doctors use it with chemotherapy for better results. Some doctors recommend shots of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF). It is the best way to make more white blood cells to fight off cancer cells. G-CSF is suggested to stimulate your bone marrow. So, it will make more blood cells, especially the immune-boosting white blood cells as it is a significant part of the body’s harmful germ defense system. It is usually suggested by the doctor when you are undergoing R-CHOP (a type of chemotherapy).

Follow Guidelines Offered By Health Officials

Some other ways to lower your risk of getting COVID-19 are the same that health officials recommend for everyone:

Stay Home To Avoid COVID-19 Risks When You Have Mantle Cell Lymphoma

It is important to stay at home as much as possible. You need to self-isolate from the outside world. When you go out, you can get the disease through airborne contaminated droplets. The respiratory droplets with the virus can come from an infected person’s nose or mouth. The closer you come in contact with the virus, the more your chances of getting COVID-19. Since most people are asymptomatic, they may not know about the disease themselves. So, find family members, friends, or any delivery service to complete your out-of-the-house errands.

Take Extra Precautionary Measures

If you have to go out, then you need to take extra precautionary measures to reduce the COVID-19 risks when you have mantle cell lymphoma. So, you need to follow the suggested guidelines:

Social Distancing To Reduce COVID-19 Risks When You Have Mantle Cell Lymphoma

Mantle Cell Lymphoma

You need to maintain distance from other people when you go out in public. So, stay at least six feet away from other people.

Avoid Touching Surfaces

Never touch public surfaces or shake hands with others. Use gloves if necessary. Never touch your face, nose, or mouth using the gloves.

Wear A Mask

You need to wear a mask (use a surgical mask) while going out. When everyone around you needs to wear a mask, you are less vulnerable to catch the infection.

Ensure Hand Hygiene

You need to keep your hands clean. So, try not to shake hands or touch high-risk surfaces that may contain contaminated droplets. You need to wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least twenty seconds. Always follow the right technique to wash your hands like the back of your hands, under your fingernails, between the fingers, and thumb. When soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer. Choose one with at least 60% alcohol in it. Always wash your hands before touching your face, nose, mouth, or eyes.

Avoid Frequent Touching Of Your Face

You need to keep your hands on the face. It is because your hands are contaminated. Even when you avoid other people, scientists have detected that the virus can stay on a hard surface for up to three days. So, high-risk surfaces like countertops or doorknob have a virus on it. When you touch such surfaces and then touch your face, nose, mouth, or eyes, it can enter your body. Scratching your nose or rubbing your eyes can lead to coronavirus infection.

Stock Medications

Since the pandemic situation has led to lockdown, going out frequently to buy medications can become challenging. It is also not wise to go out to buy medicines. So, you need to make a list of essential prescription and over-the-counter medications you use regularly. Stock these medications that will last for at least a month or more.

Follow A Healthy Lifestyle

For your immune system to work properly, you need to continue a healthy lifestyle even during the lockdown. You need to eat a balanced diet with all essential nutrients or the diet suggested by your doctor. It is because the immune system will get a good boost from good nutrition. Also, include physical activity during the lockdown. You have several methods to stay active during the lockdown as you can find many YouTube videos. Choose the one that suits your lifestyle the most and get your heart pumping. Get good rest to ensure your body relaxes. So, sleep for at least seven to eight hours every night. It alleviates your stress and helps strengthen your immune system

Contact Doctor Immediately

When you see any symptoms associated with coronavirus infection, then consult your doctor immediately. So, get emergency medical assistance when you see the following:

  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Trouble breathing
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of smell or taste

It is better to get the necessary help from your healthcare professionals when you see any of the above-mentioned symptoms. With early intervention, you can expect better outcomes.

Conclusion

Cancer patients have a weak immune system. So, they suffer from a high risk of developing other complications. It is important to take the necessary steps to avoid COVID-19 risks when you have mantle cell lymphoma. If you take ample precautions, you can prevent admission in an intensive care unit, invasive ventilation, or in severe cases, death. While managing MCL can feel challenging during a pandemic situation, you can make use of the sophisticated facilities available to take necessary steps. When you work a customized plan after consulting with your doctor, you can avoid multiple hospital visits, get necessary treatment, and stay safe.

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