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Neutropenia in the Chemotherapy Patient - Essay Example

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Decreasing Rates of Neutropenia in the Chemotherapy Patient Student School Course Number and Title Professor Session Decreasing Rates of Neutropenia in the Chemotherapy Patient Literature Review A review of the literature suggests that 'not only a life-threatening complication, it can also lead to a decision to reduce chemotherapy intensity in subsequent treatment cycles' (Cameron, 2009, p101), suggesting that it is important to understand the condition, how it arises and methods that can be used to lower the rate of neutropenia in the chemotherapy patient…
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Neutropenia in the Chemotherapy Patient
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Download file to see previous pages The study by Cameron (2009) suggests that one of the most effective ways of lowering the incidence of mortality from neutropenia is educating the patients. The paper suggests that letting the patients know what the signs of (febrile) neutropenia are and how they can be recognized will allow patients to understand when to contact their healthcare provider to ensure that they receive treatment for the condition as soon as possible, lowering the mortality of the condition. There are many different side-effects of chemotherapy that can be confused with the development of neutropenia (Nirenburg et al, 2006), but patients should be informed to check for a fever over 37.5C, mouth ulcers and general malaise (Cameron, 2009). The study by Cameron (2009) then goes on to suggest that educating the healthcare providers when the risk of neutropenia is highest and the white blood cell count is likely to be lowest is most imminent during the chemotherapy course. It has been suggested that most chemotherapy treatments are most effective and thus neutropenia risk is highest at the 10-14 day stage of treatment (Hall, 2005) and thus providers and patients alike would benefit from understanding this fact. However, different chemotherapies have different apexes, and thus both patient and provider should understand that the risks may be different dependant on type of treatment received (Cameron, 2009). It has also been shown that the duration of febrile neutropenia in patients with solid tumours can be predicted (Matias et al, 2010). The only data needed to provide this information to a patient or a member of healthcare staff is the aggressiveness of the cytotoxic agents used in that chemotherapy (Matias et al, 2010). This has the benefit of allowing both patients and healthcare staff to predict the severity and duration of neutropenia before the chemotherapy is started, and if the system was imposed thoroughly it could lead to a reduction in the cases of neutropenia. It could also allow physicians to make more informed choices about the chemotherapy regimen chosen for the patients which could reduce the chances of neutropenia. There is more evidence for the development of a risk assessment tool for those at risk that may help to reduce the rates of chemotherapy-related neutropenia. Donohue (2006) has shown that giving those at risk a colony-stimulating factor (CSF) before chemotherapy is started can give the patients an increased risk of survival and reduced risks of neutropenia (p349). This is more evidence that education would be a useful factor in many situations, as nurses and physicians would need to be educated in using the risk assessment tool, and then understand the results given by this tool. However, after this it would decrease rates of neutropenia in many patients (p350) and thus achieve the goals set out by the PICO-formatted question outlined above. Crawford et al (2004) have also shown that there are assorted risk-factors for chemotherapy patients. It has been shown that 'combined cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and 5-fluorouracil is less toxic than AC or combined cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and 5-fluorouraci ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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