For cancer patients battling the disease, COVID-19 infection seems to be helping in recovering and one of the recent cases was reported from London when doctors at a hospital in Cornwall carried out a follow-up check last summer on a 61-year-old man recently diagnosed with cancer. What they found was very extraordinary.
The tumours, which scans just a few weeks earlier revealed were littering his torso, had almost gone, reports dailymail.co.uk.
The patient, who was unnamed but was featured in a paper in the British Journal of Haematology, had not yet started chemotherapy for the disease, called Hodgkin lymphoma %u2014 a type of blood cancer that affects about 2,100 people a year in the UK.
Now the sudden disappearance of the cancerous cells seems to be a complete mystery.
However, doctors suggest that there was one possible %u2014 albeit quite incredible %u2014 explanation for his cancer%u2019s vanishing act. Just a few days after receiving his diagnosis, the patient was admitted to hospital with severe COVID-19
After testing positive for the virus, he developed pneumonia, inflammation of the lungs caused by the viral infection.
He was put on oxygen to help him breathe while his lungs recuperated, and kept in hospital for 11 days, before being discharged home, fully recovered.
It was a few weeks later that a CT scan to check his cancer revealed it had all but gone.
Doctor reached the conclusion that COVID-19 had destroyed his cancer by firing up his immune system enough not just to see off the virus but to attack and destroy malignant cells, too.
Dr Sarah Challoner, one of the doctors treating the cancer at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro, said in the published report: %u2018We think Covid-19 triggered an anti-tumour immune response.%u2019
She believes that infection-fighting cells, called T-cells, released on a large scale by the immune system to try to see off the coronavirus also attacked cancer cells which it recognised as %u2018foreign%u2019.
Though there is no medical proof of the same and experts have been quick to urge caution among cancer patients.
%u201CThe message for anyone with cancer is that, deliberately exposing yourself to Covid-19 in the hope it will heal you is much more likely to lead to your untimely demise than to a cure,%u201D warns Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia.
In the similar case, published in the journal Acta Biomedica, doctors at Cremona Hospital in Italy, reported the case of a 20-year-old man with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a more common type of blood cancer that affects 13,000 people in Britain every year.
Despite treatments, the patient%u2019s cancer had relapsed several times and appeared unresponsive to chemotherapy or radiotherapy. But after testing positive for COVID-19 early in the spring of 2020, he suffered five days of exhaustion, fever and cough as his body tried to fight off the virus. A few weeks later, as with the man in Cornwall, scans showed the cancer had gone.
That time some doctors said that %u201CCovid-19 infection might have played a crucial role in his remission.%u201D
Professor Angus Dalgleish, a cancer specialist at St George%u2019s Hospital in London, says that %u201CIt looks like Covid-19 infection was the trigger in these cases. Spontaneous remission of cancer has been known to happen but it%u2019s incredibly rare.%u201D