Anonymous asked in HealthDiseases & ConditionsCancer · 1 decade ago

What are to reasons that infection may occur with cancer?

10 Answers

  • CAT
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    If you are doing chemo, it lowers your resistence to infection.

  • Panda
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    There are two common reasons for infection for a cancer patient. One is that a patient may have a compromised immune system at certain times during treatment. The second is that cancer patients have a surgically implanted central line that can be a source of infection.

    People here are correct that during chemotherapy you can have a lowered immune system. What no one seems to add though is there are only a few days during that cycle that the immune system is compromised (nadir).

    So, you do not need to isolate a cancer patient all the time they are on chemo. nor does anyone need to wear a mask. It is only on the 9th day or the day of Nadir when the immune system is at it lowest point does a patient need to take precautions. The longer the immune system is surpressed, the more susceptible a patient can become.

    But, most of the time cancer patients are taking a regular shot of Filgrastim (neupogen) to boost and rebuild their white blood count. Once the G-CSF (filgrastim) shots kick in the patients blood counts climb back into the safety range and the immune system is working again. At the most this is only a few days to a week during one month. My son has had heavy duty chemo for two years now and only once in that whole time has he had to be restricted due to lowered Nadir (Low point in resistance to infection.)

    My feeling is the most dangerous reason for an infection is caused by the fact that most cancer patients have a Hickman or Broviac catheter or port surgically implanted before cancer treatment begins. The 'central line' allows easy access for the routine blood draws, instant access for hydration and medication, and of course allows easy access for chemotherapy. The 'central line' is surgically implanted into the chest usually and has a direct line to the heart and major arteries. This is an open line that is cared for with saline solution and heparin. Many nurses and other medical personelle can handle the 'central line'. The patient touches the central line. So many different things can go wrong and introduce bacteria into the central line. This can cause a major infection and be life threatening. My son has had two of his central lines replaced due to bacterial infection. In one case he was extremely ill everytime they flushed his line. the other time it was a low grade infection but they just couldn't get rid of the bug. Replacing the line surgically becomes the only way to stop the infection.

    Source(s): Experience.
  • 1 decade ago

    The biggest cause of infection with cancer comes, not so much from the cancer, as from the treatment. Chemotherapy and Radiation suppress the immune system in a major way, which allows even a common cold to develop into a potentially life-threatening infection. If you are undergoing chemo or radiation please wear a mask any time you are with other people. Also take handwashing seriously. Good luck.

  • 1 decade ago

    Infections may occur because of something called immunosuppression. The normal process of fighting infection is altered and certain white blood cells are unable to meet the demands placed on the body to fight infection. Chemo -therapy may intentionally whipe this process out as one of the methods of treating tumor growth.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Cancer/cancer fighting drugs compromises your immune system making it easier for a person to suffer from an infection.

  • 1 decade ago

    The main reason is low glutathione. When you are fighting cancer, your glutathione is used up quickly and this compromises your immune system. The immune system is compromised by depriving it of the food it needs to proliferate - technically glutathione is not food but it is the easiest way to explain the relationship between the two. Once your immune system has been compromised you are open to the next pathogen that comes along..

    Source(s): 1. (Type Glutathione in search field) - it is the national depository of published medical research papers. 2. book "Glutathione. Your body's most powerful protector" by Jimmy Gutman, MD, researcher and emergency physician. 3. book "Breakthrough in Cell-Defense" by Dr. Gustavo Bounous, MD, and Dr. Allan Somersall, Ph.D., M.D. 4. Entry for Immunocal in the Physician's Desk Reference (PDR) and the Pharmacist's Red Book. 5.
  • 1 decade ago

    Often medications to treat cancer will compromise the immune system making one more susceptible to infection.

  • 1 decade ago

    If your body is trying to fight off the cancer, then there are less resources available to fight off infections that ordinarily would not be a problem.

  • 1 decade ago

    the persons immune system is low

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    chemo and radiation

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