Joint Letter on Covid-19 and Cancer

We join the call for global action to lessen the impact of COVID-19 on people with cancer

On World Health Day 2021, we joined in solidarity with ECPC (European Cancer Patient Coalition) and signed on to the ‘Joint Letter on Covid-19 and Cancer’. The Joint letter sent directly to bodies such as the WHO or EU Commission, calls on policymakers to identify the specific impact of the pandemic on cancer services and design appropriate services to mitigate this impact. Furthermore, we encourage policymakers to take global action to ensure that patients can access diagnosis and treatment safely and that cancer services are properly and safely resourced for the long term. We are proud to support this initiative and to stand in solidarity with the wider cancer patient community.

The impact of COVID-19 on people with cancer

For the last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare systems are under unprecedented pressure.1This increased stress exposed vulnerable patients with cancer to significant risks.2 In fact, according to data from Italy, + 20% of all COVID-19 mortality was among cancer patients.3

The categories of cancer patients at increased risk for COVID-19 infection are:4

  • Patients having chemotherapy, or who have received chemotherapy in the last 3 months
  • Patients receiving extensive radiotherapy
  • People who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppressive drugs
  • People with some types of blood or lymphatic system cancer which damage the immune system, even if they have not needed treatment (for example, chronic leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma).

More about the European Cancer Patient Coalition

ECPC is the largest European cancer patients’ association - covering all 27 EU Member States, and many other European and non-European countries. ECPC was officially launched in 2003 under the motto “Nothing About Us, Without Us!”, and aims to represent the views of cancer patients in the European healthcare debate and to provide a forum for European cancer patient organisations to exchange information and share best practices. Read more on European Cancer Patient Coalition


[1] Beyond containment: Health systems responses to COVID-19 in the OECD
[2] Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Cancer Care: A Global Collaborative Study Abdul Rahman Jazieh, Hakan Akbulut, Giuseppe Curigliano, Alvaro Rogado, Abdullah Ali Alsharm, Evangelia D. Razis, Layth Mula-Hussain, Hassan Errihani, Adnan Khattak, Roselle B. De Guzman, Clarissa Mathias, Mohammad Omar Farouq Alkaiyat, Hoda Jradi, Christian Rolfo, and on behalf of the International Research Network on COVID-19 Impact on Cancer Care JCO Global Oncology 2020 :6, 1428-1438
[3] ECPC’s communication about cancer and COVID-19 - ECPC - European Cancer Patient Coalition
[4] ECPC’s communication about cancer and COVID-19 - ECPC - European Cancer Patient Coalition

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