Chemotherapy and Infection Discussion Guide
Talk to your doctor about ways to help prevent infection.
1. What kind of cancer do you have?
2. Are you currently receiving
3. Have you received chemotherapy or radiation therapy in the past?
3a) Have you ever had a low number of
white blood cells and fever after receiving chemotherapy?
4. Has your cancer spread?
5. Are you 65 or older?
6. Have you recently had surgery or had a port inserted?
7. Do you have any of the following?
8. Which of the following best describes your current situation?
Strong chemotherapy may lower the number of white blood cells
The fewer white blood cells you have and the longer your white blood cell count is low after a cycle of chemotherapy, the more risk you have for developing a potentially serious infection.
In addition, there are several other factors that may increase the chance of developing an infection because of a low number of white blood cells.
1. Does my chemotherapy put me at risk for a low number of white blood cells?
2. What will you look at to determine whether I have low number of white blood cells caused by chemotherapy?
3. Could a low number of white blood cells caused by chemotherapy affect my treatment?
4. What are my white blood cell levels?
5. How is a low number of white blood cells caused by chemotherapy treated?
6. Could low number of white blood cells be caused by something besides chemotherapy?
Infection cannot be completely prevented. However, there are many things you can do to decrease the risk of life threatening illness as a result of infection.
You should call your doctor or nurse team if you think you may have an infection. Signs and symptoms of an infection may include any of the following:
Talk with your nurse or doctor BEFORE you get a fever about what you should do and what medications you should take. This includes acetamenophin (such as Tylenol®), ibuprofen (such as Advil® or Motrin®), or aspirin.
Talk with your doctor or nurse about when you should call. Make sure that you know how to reach your doctor or nurse after hours, nights, and weekends.