A reasonably long video but the position on skin cancer, vaccination and the best action to take is well covered.
Booster jabs for those over 50 and others at risk are becoming available in the UK. 90% of adults have already received a single jab, over 80% a second dose, the reason that mortality and serious illness are lower relevant to infection rates.
We appreciate the situation is still not ideal. There are ethical concerns on using vaccine doses for boosters when others have none, precautions need to stay in place, mortality rates remain unacceptable.
Even so, protecting ourselves, our contacts and our families is a priority. Of 2000 recent UK deaths from Covid-19, only 81 people had been fully vaccinated, levels of serious illness and hospitalisation are even lower for the vaccinated group.
There is little doubt that vaccination is effective and we wish to confirm that skin cancer past, present, or future is not a barrier.
No Real Relationship
In spite of obscure articles online, there is no evidence that a diagnosis of cancer is a separate risk factor for a serious case of COVID-19. Skin cancer specifically raises few issues, even the most serious kind.
Melanoma on average occurs at a younger age than other common cancers and is not caused by general cancer risk factors, such as smoking, obesity and diabetes. With a few exceptions, the cause is historic sun exposure.
For serious skin cancers where treatment beyond surgery is required, the use of immune system weakening chemotherapy is rare. Alternatives such as immunotherapy, or targeted therapy do not weaken the immune system.
We appreciate that patients may have risk factors independent of skin cancer but those factors are not caused by the skin cancer.
One of the largest data streams available on Covid is from the US. With the dominant delta variant, unvaccinated Americans have died at 11 times the rate of those fully vaccinated,
who were also 10 times less likely to be hospitalised.
The earliest significant data on booster effects comes from Israel, where confirmed infections after a booster were lower by a factor of 11.
This doesn’t take related factors into account, such as deprivation, or age but neither are they discriminated against by vaccination. Across the whole population of many countries, we know that vaccines are safe and effective.
The obvious action is to take up an offer of vaccination without hesitation. Even if you have medical reasons why this might be less effective, which are quite rare, the partial effect is far better than none.
If you have a reason to see a dermatologist, perhaps due to a concerning growth, you should see them as soon as possible. The same applies to continuing with any treatment you are already receiving for skin cancer.
Well run dermatology clinics are safe places and early intervention remains the best treatment for skin cancer, regardless of Covid-19.
If you have any doubts about vaccination and skin cancer treatment, please speak to your consultant. As with remaining vigilant, vaccination is a notable weapon against an unwanted disease we need to vanquish.