(Vienna (APA), 31 August 2021) - All cancer patients, other at-risk individuals and healthcare professionals should receive a Covid-19 booster vaccination in the coming weeks and months. Due to fewer early detection examinations, a higher cancer mortality rate is to be expected in the coming years, experts warned on Tuesday ahead of Vienna Cancer Day next Monday (6 September/Vienna City Hall).
"We have figures from Austria. We saw a 50 -60% drop in screening exams in the first lockdown and a slightly smaller drop in the second lockdown. Calculations indicate that in five years we will have between 5% and 11% more cancer deaths because diagnoses were made later," warned the President of Austrian Cancer Aid, Viennese gynaecologist Paul Sevelda .
Everyone should therefore start to go to their screening and early detection examinations once again, recommended Sevelda. Otherwise, Covid-19 could at least partially negate the enormous progress made in cancer medicine in recent years, due to late cancer diagnoses. Viennese oncologist Christoph Zielinski gave an example of this: "With modern immunotherapies, 40% of certain lung cancer patients are still alive after five years. This is an incredible step forward. This results in cancer mortality falling by 3% year on year. From 2016 to 2017, it fell by 2.6%."
"The pandemic has taken a toll on cancer patients in particular. For example, they could not be accompanied on visits to outpatient clinics. However, especially in Vienna General Hospital, the rule was that, even during lockdowns, heart surgery and oncology patients must be treated no matter what," said Gabriela Kornek, Medical Director of Vienna General Hospital and President of the "Living with Cancer" initiative.
The Chair of the Austrian vaccination committee, Viennese vaccinologist Ursula Wiedermann-Schmidt (MedUni Vienna), spoke out vehemently in favour of a "third jab" for all cancer patients, for those aged 65 and over who have already been vaccinated, for at-risk people with chronic illnesses and for booster vaccinations for all healthcare professionals. "The first of these third vaccinations should start in September this year," she said.
But it is also about the Covid-19 vaccination of those who have not yet been immunised. Sevelda explains: "The third jab is important. But it is even more important for the 30% of people who haven't yet had their first or second jab to come forward for vaccination."
Service: Vienna Cancer Day 2021
6 September, 9.00 to 13.00 hrs, Vienna City Hall;
Registration required. For more information: www.leben-mit-krebs.at