Patients are often overwhelmed with medical information once they have been diagnosed with cancer. Many do not fully understand the risk of infection during chemotherapy and the potential impact it has on one’s overall treatment success.
To encourage cancer patients and their caregivers to actively work with their physicians to learn what can be done to lower the risk of infection before starting chemotherapy, Stand Up To Cancer released a Public Service Announcement (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlRmivo3DRo) featuring celebrities and award-winning actresses Edie Falco, from The Sopranos, and Sex and the City’s Cynthia Nixon. The purpose of this public service campaign is to educate cancer patients and their loved ones about the increased risk of infection during cancer treatment and the importance of learning how to manage one’s risk.
“Learning you have cancer comes as a complete shock and, at first, makes you feel powerless,” says Edie Falco, SU2C ambassador and cancer survivor. “You really need to take control early. It is important to work with your team of physicians at the outset to understand how to minimize your risk of infection and stay strong throughout your treatment plan.”
Cancer patients are at higher risk for infection due to a compromised immune system caused by both the cancer itself and, often, by chemotherapy treatment. Neutropenia, a low white blood cell count, is a common and potentially dangerous side effect of chemotherapy. It can lead to a heightened risk of infection that can require hospitalization and be life-threatening. Each year, 60,000 cancer patients are hospitalized for chemotherapy-induced neutropenia. Neutropenia also can disrupt chemotherapy treatment, including both dose delays and dose reductions, which — for certain types of cancer — may impede a patient’s ability to achieve the best long-term results.
“Being told that you have cancer is devastating,” adds Cynthia Nixon, SU2C ambassador and cancer survivor. “But you need to stay empowered. Through this Stand Up To Cancer campaign, we hope to encourage cancer patients and their loved ones to get all the facts, including how you can minimize the risk of infection during treatment.”
The public service campaign, “Stand Up to Cancer,” can be viewed by visiting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlRmivo3DRo.