Patients with underlying malignancies are at risk for a wide array of infectious diseases that cause significant morbidity and mortality. To develop a clear etiologic understanding of the infectious agents involved first requires a knowledge of the factors that predispose to infection. Neutropenia is clearly the single most important risk factor for infection in the cancer patient. However, a variety of both host and treatment-associated factors act together to predispose these patients to opportunistic infections. Approaching the individual malignancies with a knowledge of the underlying risk factors helps logically guide diagnosis and therapy. The astute clinician must also be aware of new and emerging infections in this patient population. As new pathogens are discovered and established pathogens become increasingly drug resistant, they will continue to present challenges for physicians caring for these patients in the years ahead.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research