The seasonal flu vaccine and cancer treatment

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Meet the specialists: diagnosing ovarian cancer Q&A

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Friday 6th November 2020

People living with cancer or undergoing cancer treatment are often immunosuppressed and at higher risk of catching the flu. After cancer treatment, a patient’s resistance to infection might be low for some months or years. It is recommended that a patient has the flu vaccine if they have had one of the following treatments:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Some targeted cancer drugs
  • Some immunotherapy treatments
  • Long-term steroids
  • Removal of the spleen

Alternative consideration should be given to patients who:

  • Are allergic to egg
  • Have had a reaction to a vaccine previously
  • Are children, who may normally be offered the vaccine as a nasal spray (containing a live, but weakened form of the vaccine). The vaccine injection, which does not contain live virus, may be more appropriate if a child has cancer and a very weakened immune system

To learn more, watch this video with Dr Adrian Bloor:

Find out more: 

  • Access GatewayC’s Chronic Leukaemia course for more information regarding the flu vaccine and cancer patients here
  • Leukaemia Care have answered common questions on the flu vaccine here
  • Read Cancer Research UK’s information on the flu vaccine and cancer treatment here

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