Cancer Keys: MSCC Red Flags

Cancer Keys: MSCC Red Flags

Latest articles: Potential pitfall: Metastatic spinal cord compression (MSCC) is a medical emergency which can result in paralysis. Many patients living with cancer have pain; within primary care it can difficult to differentiate between significant pain which may be...

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Health anxiety and fear of recurrence

Health anxiety and fear of recurrence

Latest articles: Thursday 21st May 2020 Managing a patient’s fear of cancer recurrence and health anxiety can be difficult. After treatment, many patients want to have the reassurance that they are cured. Generally it is not possible for health care professionals to...

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Cancer Keys: COVID-19 and Neutropenic Sepsis

Neutropenic sepsis is a potentially fatal complication of anticancer treatment (particularly chemotherapy).

Helpful hint:

NICE have produced a COVID-19 rapid guideline on the delivery of systemic anticancer treatments. If patients present with COVID-19 symptoms this guidance recommends:

  • Be aware that patients having systemic anticancer treatments are immunocompromised and may have atypical presentations of COVID‑19. Also, symptoms of COVID‑19, neutropenic sepsis and pneumonitis may be difficult to differentiate at initial presentation.
  • Advise all patients to contact their local cancer chemotherapy helpline (rather than NHS 111) if they feel unwell to ensure their symptoms are appropriately assessed.
  • If patients have fever (with or without respiratory symptoms), suspect neutropenic sepsis because this can be rapid and life-threatening, and follow the NICE guideline on neutropenic sepsis, which recommends referring patients with suspected neutropenic sepsis immediately for assessment in secondary or tertiary care.

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