Doctors investigate if COVID is responsible for 'unusual' cancers

Some doctors and scientists are asking if COVID-19 could be to blame for an uptick in younger people getting cancers like lung, blood, and colon cancer. 

Health experts say there has been an increase in younger people getting cancers that you normally see in people over the age of 65 during and since the pandemic.

"This is an observation that has piqued the researchers' and clinicians' interest, that, is there an association with COVID, especially long COVID and cancer?" said Dr. Suraj Saggar, Chief of Infectious Disease at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, New Jersey. "Certain viruses can cause low-level inflammation, and it's inflammation that can reactivate or activate or cause normal cells to become cancer cells."

According to Dr. Saggar, various factors could be contributing to the increase in cancers among younger people, including doctors and hospitals turning away patients during the pandemic fearing the spread of the virus and then the backlog that was created afterward. 

"During the pandemic a lot of the routine cancer screening, non-emergent care was put on hold. So, part of this certainly could be explained because many have forego routine cancer screening, routine testing, biopsies," Dr. Saggar said.

Doctor Saggar says much more research needs to be done on whether there is a possible connection with COVID-19 and that research could take decades.