Information for Health Care Providers
Learn how to improve infection prevention practices in your outpatient oncology clinic.
Each year, about 650,000 cancer patients receive chemotherapy in an outpatient oncology clinic in the United States. Patients receiving chemotherapy are at risk for developing infections that may lead to hospitalization, disruptions in chemotherapy schedules, and even death. Neutropenia is recognized as the most serious hematologic toxicity during cancer treatment with chemotherapy.
Ongoing outbreaks and patient notifications in outpatient settings demonstrate the need for greater understanding and implementation of basic infection prevention guidance.
Outpatient oncology facilities can use the Basic Infection Control and Prevention Plan for Outpatient Oncology Settings to standardize and improve infection prevention practices. A pocket-sized quick reference guide [PDF-1.6MB] is also available.
These documents include key policies and procedures outlined in CDC’s Guide to Infection Prevention in Outpatient Settings: Minimum Expectations for Safe Care that have been tailored to help outpatient oncology facilities meet minimum expectations for patient safety.
A Patient’s Story
Since 2002, at least nine serious infectious disease outbreaks have occurred in cancer clinics. These outbreaks involved unsafe injection practices, including the reuse of syringes. As a result, hundreds of patients became infected and thousands more required notification and testing for bloodborne pathogens. This fact sheet offers Injection Safety Reminders for Oncology Providers. [PDF-741KB]
Tai E, Guy GP, Dunbar A, Richardson LC. Cost of cancer-related neutropenia or fever hospitalizations, United States, 2012. Journal of Oncology Practice 2017;13(6):e552–e561.
Dunbar A, Tai E, Nielsen DB, Shropshire S, Richardson LC. Preventing infections during cancer treatment. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing 2014;18(4):426–431.