Patients who are being treated for cancer may have compromised immune systems as a result of a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Both are so powerful that they can affect your ability to fight off illnesses.
There is much concern about how cancer patients can continue to protect themselves from contagious illnesses without compromising or jeopardizing the effects of cancer treatment. A dangerous virus or infection can become life-threatening to a cancer patient.
Always remember to talk with your doctor about any questions you may have regarding your treatment, including other aspects of your healthcare, such as nutrition and immunizations.
Recommended Immunizations for Cancer Patients
Cancer patients with weakened immune systems need all the help they can get to fight off illnesses, which is where immunizations can help. As a cancer patient, you should be proactive in getting immunizations to help protect yourself. Here are some immunizations you should consider and talk to a doctor about.
For protection against the flu virus, inactive vaccines are safe for cancer patients. There are flu vaccines made with no live component of the illness, as in they contain an inactivated flu virus, which is safer for cancer patients. The flu shot is best taken at least two weeks before chemotherapy and three months after completion.
Examples of flu vaccinations that contain the inactive flu virus are Trivalent inactivated,
Quadrivalent inactivated, High-dose inactivated, Cell culture-based (Flucelvax
Quadrivalent), and Recombinant (Flublok Tri- and Quadrivalent). Nasal mist vaccines that contain the virus are not recommended. Talk to your doctor about which one is best for you.
To protect against pneumonia, the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate (PCV-13; Prevnar-13) is administered and followed up by another booster shot eight weeks after which is the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide (PPSV-23; Pneumovax). This can protect you from life-threatening pneumonia while you get cancer treatment.
The shingles vaccine is recommended for cancer patients over the age of 50. The vaccine for the shingles is the recombinant Zoster vaccine (RZV; Shingrix), which should be administered in two doses spaced at least two months apart.
Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis Vaccine (Tdap)
Cancer patients should also consider getting a vaccination for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. The recommended dosage is a single Tdap dose in adulthood to be followed by a Td booster shot after 10 years.
Immunization for Cancer Patients in Wooster, Ohio
At Wooster Community Hospital (WCH), we provide comprehensive cancer care to all our patients, including those with cancer. We have teamed up with The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute to provide the medical oncology services on our oncology campus. Through the partnership, we are able to provide a host of services, from medical oncology services to nutrition services, in our cutting-edge cancer center.
Our team of compassionate oncologists understands how a cancer diagnosis can change your life, and we are here to provide you the care and support you need. To find out how we provide customized cancer care, call WCH Cancer care at (330) 262-2800 or request an appointment now.