IMMUUNSÜSTEEM JA VÄHK – May 2017

Immunizations in patients with cancer

Authors: Maria Mikkal, Krista Ress

Articles PDF

Abstract

According to the WHO, cancer is the second leading cause of death globally. Patients with cancer are at an increased risk of morbidity and mortality from the infections that can usually be prevented by immunization. Therefore, immunization is of paramount importance to patients with impaired immunity. Because of cancer and oncological treatment, these patients are unable to mount protective immune response to immunization. The aim of this article was to review the approach to immunization of immunocompromised patients who receive anticancer treatment. As there is no immunization guideline for this group of patients in Estonia, the article is mainly based on the relevant guidelines of different countries.

Although the timing of immunization for oncological patients can be difficult it is very important, as it can reduce mortality and morbidity caused by vaccine-preventable infections. Taking into consideration all above information, it is essential that physicians who are involved in the treatment of cancer patients understand the importance of immunization. To ensure the best possible protection for cancer patients, it is also highly recommended that all family members and medical staff who are in contact with these patients be adequately immunized.