New Tool to Prevent Infections During Chemotherapy

New Tool to Prevent Infections During Chemotherapy


Hello, my name is Lisa Richardson,
and I’m an oncologist and medical officer at the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention. I’m pleased to speak with you today
as part of the CDC Expert Video Commentary Series on Medscape about an educational
Web site aimed at reducing infections in cancer patients—preventcancerinfections.org As clinicians, we know that neutropenia,
or low white blood cell counts, is the most serious hematologic toxicity cancer
patients face while receiving chemotherapy. Despite advances in oncology care,
infections from both community and healthcare settings remain a
major cause of hospitalization and death among this vulnerable population. Each year 60,000 cancer patients are
hospitalized for chemotherapy-induced neutropenia fever and infections, and one patient
dies every two hours from this complication. The impact an infection has on cancer patients
serves as a reminder of how important it is to counsel our patients about the things
they can do to protect themselves. Preventcancerinfections.org
is an excellent tool you can add to your existing
patient education materials. It encourages patients to take the right
steps toward preventing infections during chemotherapy by providing them
with information, action steps, and tools. A risk assessment for neutropenia
is the Web site’s main feature. After answering a few questions relating
to type of cancer, stage, and age and other factors a patient’s risk for developing neutropenia
is determined to be either high or low. The online tool then provides tailored information
that will help your patients recognize and respond to the signs and symptoms
of possible infections as well as how to be proactive to lower their
risk for developing infections. While this program is targeted
to patients and caregivers, it was also developed with clinicians in mind. Once a user enters this Web site, they
may continue as a patient, caregiver, or provider by entering the appropriate portal. The Web site’s language is then
tailored to the chosen audience. For example, the provider’s risk
assessment questionnaire asks about the patient’s Eastern Cooperative
Oncology Group performance status, whereas the patient and
caregiver’s risk assessment, asks about their activities during the day. If you provide care for cancer
patients receiving chemotherapy, I encourage you to visit this Web site. There are several ways to use this tool with your patients. You can complete the online questionnaire
with your patient and provide them with a printed copy of the questionnaire and
their results, as well as tailored messages. You also can email them this information. Another option is to print out a PDF
of the questionnaire, complete it on your patient’s behalf, give it to your patient and encourage them to visit
PreventCancerInfections.Org on their own. And finally, visit
CDC.Gov/Cancer/PreventInfections for additional resources to share with your
patients including posters and fact sheets. We at CDC hope that this tool will help us all
become better stewards for our patients by doing all we can to prevent
infections during chemotherapy. Thank you for your time.

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