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CDC launches effort to protect cancer patients from infections

Each year more than one million patients receive cancer treatment in an outpatient oncology clinic. Despite advances in oncology care, infections from both community and health care settings remain a major cause of hospitalization and death among cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. To help protect this vulnerable patient population, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is launching a new program featuring tools to help both clinicians and patients prevent infections.

“Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy often have weak immune systems and need to be kept safe against germs,” said CDC Director Thomas Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “These new resources help patients take an active role in protecting themselves against infection and give doctors, nurses, and other clinicians necessary tools to better prevent infection.”

CDC’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. These resources include an interactive website (www.preventcancerinfections.org) for cancer patients and caregivers, as well as a Basic Infection Control and Prevention Plan for use by outpatient oncology settings.

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