• The term ‘immune-compromised’ refers to individuals whose immune system is considered weaker, more impaired, or less robust than that of the average healthy adult. 
  • The primary role of the immune system is to help fight off infection.
  • Individuals with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk of getting infections, including viral infections such as COVID-19.
  • There are many reasons that a person might be immune-compromised: health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, or heart disease, older age, or lifestyle choices such as smoking can all contribute to weakened immune systems. 
  • Patients with cancer may be at greater risk of being immune-compromised depending on the type of cancer they have, the type of treatment they receive, other health conditions, and their age.
  •  The risk of being immune-compromised is typically highest during the time of active cancer treatment, such as during treatment with chemotherapy. 
  • There is no specific test to determine if a person is immune-compromised, although findings such as low white blood cell counts or low levels of antibodies (also called immunoglobulins) in the blood likely indicate an immune-compromised state. 


  1. https://www.cancer.net/blog/2020-03/common-questions-about-coronavirus-2019-and-cancer-answers-patients-and-survivors
  2. https://www.cancer.gov/contact/emergency-preparedness/coronavirus
  3. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045(20)30150-9/fulltext
  4. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/927215 
  5. https://www.nccn.org/covid-19/