Cost of Cancer-Related Neutropenia or Fever Hospitalizations, United States, 2012
Study highlights need for increased attention to infection
prevention and control and patient education.
Each year, 650,000 patients with cancer receive chemotherapy in the United States. This number is projected to increase over the next 20 years since the number of people with cancer is also expected to surge.
Chemotherapy treatment can lead to a life-threatening side effect called neutropenia (a low number of neutrophils in the blood) and subsequent infections. Among patients with cancer, hospitalizations related to neutropenic complications result in substantial medical costs, morbidity, and mortality.
A recent paper by Eric Tai, Gery Guy, Jr., Angela Dunbar, and Lisa C. Richardson, published in the Journal of Oncology Practice, provides the most recent nationally representative estimates of the number and cost of cancer-related neutropenia hospitalizations. The study found that in 2012, there were 108,419 cancer-related neutropenia hospitalizations in the United States at a total cost of $2.7 billion.
The paper also highlights a need for increased attention to infection control and patient and caregiver education which may decrease hospitalizations and associated costs.
Resources for patients and healthcare providers are available as part of CDC’s Preventing Infections in Cancer Patients:
- Web site for patients with cancer undergoing chemotherapy including an evidence-based, interactive program to help assess a cancer patient’s risk for developing both neutropenia and subsequent infections during treatment.
- Basic Infection Control and Prevention Plan for Outpatient Oncology Settings with policies and procedures needed to meet minimal requirements for patient safety.
- Educational materials for patients, caregivers, and doctors including posters, brochures, and videos.
Cost of Cancer-Related Neutropenia or Fever Hospitalizations, United States, 2012: Journal of Oncology Practice: Vol 0, No 0