Renal Medullary Carcinoma and COVID-19: Protecting Patients with Advanced Cancers

Dr. Pavlos Msaouel of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center speaks on the relationship between advanced or aggressive cancers, such as Renal Medullary Carcinoma (RMC), and the novel coronavirus COVID-19. While it is impossible to 100% prevent an infection, knowing the signs and symptoms to watch out for can ensure you remain in close contact with your oncology team. If your usual activities like gardening or a persistent cough seem to be causing difficulty breathing, get in contact with your physician.

COVID-19, coronavirus, RMC, Renal Medullary Carcinoma, advanced cancer, complications, dry cough, difficulty breathing, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

About this expert

Pavlos Msaouel, MD, PhD

University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine


Rebecca: Hi, I’m Rebecca Law for Diverse Health  Hub and today we have Dr. Pavlos Msaouel joining us. He is a kidney cancer expert treating a rare cancer called Renal Medullary Carcinoma,  also known as RMC. Dr. Msaouel, what exactly is the relationship between cancer such as renal medullary carcinoma and COVID-19?

Dr. Msaouel:

Renal  Medullary Carcinoma (RMC) tends to be a particularly aggressive cancer and one of the things that we're learning about COVID-19 is that  patients with cancer, especially the ones with advanced cancer that are  receiving therapies for their cancer are particularly vulnerable to complications from COVID-19. So, I think it is pretty clear that if  somebody has RMC they need to be extra careful not to get infected if  possible by this virus because the chances that they may have  complications from that infection are much higher than they would be for  the average individual. And so, of course it is impossible to be 100%  careful and to prevent an infection, you know in all scenarios. 

So, if  things happen and you have RMC or any other advanced cancer and you do get infected by COVID-19 then you need to be in close communication with  your physician and if you start having symptoms that are concerning for  example, you start having such bad cough that you're having difficulty breathing or even without having a bad cough if you're having difficulty  breathing when you start you know, working in your garden or in your,  in your job and you start feeling short of breath whereas in the past  you did not feel that, you should let your physician know. And this is  because sometimes this may be the harbinger of something worse and so, it might need, this might need close monitoring by your oncology team.

Rebecca: Dr. Msaouel, researcher and cancer biologist from the University of  Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, thank you so much for joining us today.

Dr. Msaouel: Thank you for having me.


Rebecca Law

Rebecca graduated from University of San Francisco with a degree in applied economics, focusing on marketing, program management and event management. Her experience is unmatched when it comes to aligning program scope with strategic business objectives. Rebecca has an extensive background in managing marketing campaigns and is highly skilled at communicating with a variety of audiences.

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