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For a childhood cancer patient, an infection can be life-threatening and should be treated as a medical emergency.
Treatments such as chemotherapy can affect the immune system. Cancer-fighting drugs work by killing the body’s fastest-growing cells, which include healthy cells along with cancer cells. When the number of infection-fighting white blood cells called neutrophils is decreased, it results in a condition called neutropenia. Patients with neutropenia cannot fight infections well. They can become seriously ill very quickly. It is important to watch for signs of an infection, so it can be treated right away.
Signs and symptoms of infection:
Whether you are at the hospital or at home, tell a medical care provider right way if you notice signs of infection in your child.
Fever varies for patients depending on their age:
Parents and other caregivers are encouraged to take steps to prevent infections from occurring.
Reviewed: August 2018