Q: Do cancer patients and survivors face a more severe risk from COVID-19?

A: Cancer patients are likely at high risk with the new coronavirus in part because their immune systems may be compromised.

And some survivors also may face more severe risks.

Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy can weaken a patient’s immune system, according to the American Cancer Society.

“Cancer patients are among those at high risk of serious illness from an infection because their immune systems are often weakened by cancer and its treatments,” according to an article published by the society on Tuesday.

But it’s unclear whether a person who received treatment years ago also faces enhanced risks.

“Most people who were treated for cancer in the past, especially if it was years ago, are likely to have normal immune function, but each person is different,” according to that article.

While much about the new coronavirus still remains to be determined, public health experts say it’s best for cancer patients and survivors to practice a high degree of caution and consult with their doctor.

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