(HealthDay News) — More than half of cancer patients diagnosed with COVID-19 report postacute sequelae of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection (PASC) that may persist beyond six months, according to a study published online Feb. 7 in eLife.

Hiba Dagher, M.D., from University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues assessed PASC in cancer patients following acute COVID-19 recovery. The analysis included data from 312 cancer patients followed for up to 14 months after COVID-19 infection.

The researchers found that 60 percent of patients reported long COVID symptoms, with a median duration of seven months after COVID-19 diagnosis. Fatigue (82 percent), sleep disturbances (78 percent), myalgias (67 percent), and gastrointestinal symptoms (61 percent) were the most common complaints, followed by headache (47%), altered smell or taste (47%), dyspnea (47 percent), and cough (46 percent). More women reported persistent symptoms than men (63 versus 37 percent). Cancer type, neutropenia, lymphocytopenia, and hospital admission during acute COVID-19 disease did not differ between those with long COVID symptoms and those without. A minority of patients with PASC (8.5 percent) were readmitted for COVID-19-related reasons.

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“Besides the female gender, we found no other underlying condition or severity of illness during acute COVID-19 that would predict PASC,” the authors write.

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