If you know anyone who’s gone through cancer treatments, or been through them yourself, you’re probably aware that a serious side effect of the chemotherapy that kills cancer cells is that it weakens the entire immune system, making it imperative that such patients avoid germs.
To help ensure that cancer patients have good results in the fight against opportunistic infections, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created a new program meant to help. It includes a special interactive website as well as a 21-page-long prevention plan designed to be used in outpatient oncology centers and cancer clinics.
In a news release about the new program, Dr. Thomas Frieden, the CDC’s director, explained that the new program was meant to assist cancer patients in becoming active participants in their own health care, and in protecting themselves from infections, as well as to provide better prevention tools to doctors, nurses, and other medical staff.
The website, which is recently launched, includes such tools as an assessment that helps patients understand their own risks of infection, while the prevention plan targets cancer clinics, providing best practices and other resources.
In the CDC’s press release about the new program, it stressed that cancer patients were a vulnerable segment of the overall patient population, that that minimizing their risk of “healthcare-associated infections” was critical. Also emphasized was that facility administrators have the responsibility of making sure that their staffs are appropriately trained and provided with the necessary tools and information, while clinicians must share the responsibility for keeping patients from infection with the patients themselves.
The CDC’s release also explained that a combined approach such as this is the best way to foster a “culture of infection prevention,” at every healthcare facility in the nation.