Strong Chemotherapy and Infection Discussion Guide
Talk to your doctor about ways to help reduce your infection risk.
1. What kind of cancer do you have?
2. Are you currently receiving strong chemotherapy (chemo)?
3. Have you received strong chemo or radiation therapy in the past?
3a) Have you ever had a low number of white blood cells and fever after receiving strong chemo?
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?
Strong chemotherapy (chemo) 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 strong chemo, the more risk you have for developing a potentially serious infection.
In addition, there are several other factors that may increase the risk of infection because of a low number of white blood cells.
1. Does my strong chemo 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 strong chemo?
3. What are my white blood cell levels?
4. How is a low number of white blood cells caused by strong chemo treated?
5. Could a low number of white blood cells be caused by something besides strong chemo?
Strong chemotherapy (chemo):
Infection cannot be completely prevented. However, there are many things you can do to decrease the risk of infection.
Ask your doctor/treatment team about the kinds of signs or symptoms that should cause you to call their office. For example, signs and symptoms of an infection may include any of the following:
Make sure that you know how to reach your doctor or nurse after hours, and on nights and weekends.
Note to users of this Guide. Having cancer and understanding treatment options is a difficult and confusing time for patients and their loved ones. This guide is intended to help facilitate patient/caregiver communication with the patient's treatment team. It is not intended, nor should it be treated, as medical advice. Only an appropriately licensed healthcare provider may provide medical/clinical advice. Always talk to your healthcare team as your experience with cancer is unique and specific to you.