New Tool to Prevent Infections During Chemotherapy

I am an oncologist and medical officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I recently provided an expert commentary on Medscape about an educational website aimed at reducing infections in cancer patients – This educational tool encourages patients to take the right steps toward preventing infections during chemotherapy by providing them with information, action steps, and tools. Here’s a brief excerpt from the commentary:

As clinicians, we know that neutropenia (low white blood cell count) is the most serious hematologic toxicity faced by cancer patients 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 and infections, and 1 patient dies every 2 hours from this complication.

The impact of infections 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. is an excellent tool that you can add to your existing patient education materials.

Read the full commentary on Medscape
(free registration on Medscape is required)

Preventing Infections in Cancer Patients
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Preventing Infections in Cancer Patients program is a comprehensive initiative focusing on providing information, action steps, and tools for patients, their families, and their health care providers to reduce the risk of life-threatening infections during chemotherapy treatment. This program was made possible through a CDC Foundation partnership with, and funding from, Amgen. As part of the partnership, the CDC Foundation considered oncology expertise provided by Amgen. Learn more about this partnership.

Lisa C. Richardson, MD, MPH, is a medical officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. She is board-certified in internal medicine, hematology and medical oncology.