Cancer and the Flu, Be Prepared

If you’re a cancer patient, survivor or a caregiver, you may be wondering about what to do this flu season to protect yourself, a patient or a family member. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a flu shot for everyone over six-months old, but how does this apply to those affected by cancer? Are there any risks? We rounded up a couple of questions and answers from the CDC to make sure you’re prepared for flu season.

“Should Cancer Patients and Survivors Get a Flu Shot?

Yes. Injectable influenza vaccines are approved for use in people with cancer and other health conditions. The flu shot has a long, established safety record in people with cancer.

People who live with or care for cancer patients and survivors also should be vaccinated against seasonal flu.

Are Cancer Patients and Survivors More Likely to Get the Flu Than Others?

We don’t know this specifically. But we do know that cancer may increase your risk for complications from the flu. If you have cancer now or have had certain types of cancer in the past (such as lymphoma or leukemia), you are at higher risk for complications from the flu.”

While cancer patients or survivors may not be more likely to get the flu, they are more likely for complications from the flu, so it’s important to protect them with a flu shot and perhaps even an additional pneumococcal vaccination. You can also take other preventative steps like washing your hands, limiting close contact with others and—of course—wearing a mask.