The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation has launched an updated version of www.preventcancerinfections.org, a comprehensive online program to raise awareness among patients, caregivers, and health care providers about steps that can be taken to prevent infections during chemotherapy treatment, part of the “Preventing Infections in Cancer Patients” program.
The evidence-based, interactive online program, funded in part through a CDC Foundation partnership with Amgen, is designed to assess a cancer patient's risk for developing leukopenia (and subsequent infections) from chemotherapy, and direct educational materials to that patient about how to stay healthy while receiving therapy.
“It is designed to empower patients to know how to protect themselves and reduce their chances of getting an infection,” Lisa C. Richardson, MD, MPH, Director of the Division of Blood Disorders and Medical Officer at the CDC who led the development of the site, said via email. Research revealed that patients were more concerned about other common side effects like hair loss and nausea than they were about infections, she explained. “Patients were also not aware of actions they could take to help protect themselves during treatment.”
Patients can take an online assessment—either on their own or with their health care provider—to determine if they are at low- or high-risk of infection. There is also an assessment for caregivers. Educational materials including health tip sheets, posters, fact sheets, postcards, and videos are available on the site.
Additional resources specific for clinicians include:
* A “Basic Infection Control and Prevention Plan for Outpatient Oncology Settings,” which includes key policies and procedures that will ensure that a facility meets or exceeds minimal expectations of patient safety (Pub #22-1028);
* A poster stressing the importance of cancer patients getting the flu shot with the slogan: “Cancer is a fight. Don't let the flu knock you down” (Pub #22-1463); and
* A postcard stressing the importance of cancer patients getting the flu shot (Pub #22-1462).