The ICA recommends that cancer patients get ready for the winter and receive a flu vaccine and emphasizes that flu shots are considered safe for cancer patients
Oncologist, Prof. Eliezer Robinson, ICA Chairman, explains that "it is recommended that patients who are coping with cancer and undergoing oncology treatments receive a flu shot. It is important to know that cancer in general, and lymphoma or leukemia, in particular, may weaken the body's immune system. Treatments countering the disease such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, may reduce the body's natural defenses, and cancer patients may contract the flu more easily. In view of the fact that complications may occur after developing the flu, cancer patients in particular, are recommended to be vaccinated to reduce the risk of developing the flu.
Prof. Eliezer Robinson, Chairman, Israel Cancer Association
Photo credit: Shlomi Amsalem
Flu vaccines are considered safe for cancer patients because they contain an inactivated form of the virus (which is not a contagious viral infection). Research has proven that a flu vaccine for the cancer patient population reduces hospital admittance and mortality among this sensitive sector. The flu shot should be received when blood counts are higher, usually several days after receiving treatment. It is important to note that in cases where the vaccine is given on other days, this does not pose any danger for the patient, but rather, may impair the vaccine's effectiveness. In addition, it should be kept in mind that even if sometimes slight pain, swelling, rash or fever may be experienced on the day of vaccination, they pass within a day. In any case, prior to receiving the vaccine, the cancer patient must consult with his attending physician".
The vaccine is available at all healthcare funds, free of charge; every cancer patient must proceed to his or her specific healthcare fund to receive the vaccine, which is usually given without having to schedule an appointment in advance and without having to wait.