The phrase “immune-compromised” describes people who have immune systems that are weak, less robust, or impaired in comparison to an average adult in good health. The immune system’s primary function is to ward off infection. Those who have immune systems that are compromised have a higher risk of developing infections, Covid-19 being one of them. There are several reasons why an individual may be immune-compromised – such people might be dealing with health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or cancer. They might also make poor lifestyle choices (like smoking cigarettes). Old age can weaken immunity, too.
Nevertheless, patients who have cancer could be immune-compromised based on the form of cancer, the kind of treatment received, their age, and other health factors. The risk of developing a compromised immune system is generally highest when one is undergoing cancer treatment (like chemotherapy). There isn’t any universal test to establish if someone’s immune system is compromised. However, findings like low antibody levels (immunoglobulins) and low counts of white blood cells are likely indications of a compromised immune system.
Are cancer survivors and patients at risk of developing health complications stemming from SARS-CoV-2 (a.k.a. Covid-19)?