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Having cancer puts you at risk for contracting sepsis

Without a doubt, hearing from your doctor that you have cancer is a devastating blow. Not only is your health in jeopardy, but so is your life. Perhaps you and your doctor discussed a treatment program to aggressively attack your cancer in the hopes of achieving remission.

You may face surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation. More than likely, your sole focus in life revolves around dealing with this dangerous health crisis. However, your doctor, and you, need to keep in mind that cancer may not be the only condition threatening your life.

Both the cancer and the treatment leave you vulnerable

When your body's cells work properly, they stop multiplying and die once they serve their purpose. Cancer occurs because your body produced abnormal cells that continue to uncontrollably multiply. This creates growths and tumors of malignant cells that can spread throughout the body.

Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation attempt to remove and kill these cells. The problem is that the treatments compromise your immune system, leaving you vulnerable to illnesses and infections. If you do have an infection, your body could "overreact" and lead to sepsis. This condition can quickly become life threatening if left unchecked since sepsis is basically your body's response to an infection in overdrive.

Factors that increase the risk of infection and sepsis

Other than your treatments compromising your immune system, you face other factors that increase your risk for sepsis:

  • Procedures that puncture the skin
  • Frequent hospital stays
  • Insertion of a urinary catheter or other device
  • Malnutrition
  • Frailty
  • Other illnesses

Any time you subject your body to anything from the outside, you could develop an infection that could turn into sepsis. If you get the flu, a urinary tract infection or pneumonia, you could also end up with sepsis. Your doctor should address any infections you may have at this time, diligently and aggressively, in order to catch them before they turn into sepsis. If that doesn't happen, the sooner your doctor discovers that you suffer from sepsis, the better off you will be.

If your doctor fails to diagnose sepsis

In your condition, sepsis may always stand as a life-threatening condition. The earlier your doctor catches it, the better your chances of recovery become. If your doctor fails to diagnose your condition before it progresses too far, you could end up spending a significant amount of time in the hospital while you undergo treatment for it. This may also interfere with your cancer treatments, which further jeopardizes your life.

If you believe your doctor's care fell below the accepted standard, you may wish to hold him or her accountable. That may be possible through the filing of a medical malpractice claim, which often becomes complex, so it may be worthwhile to seek out a thorough evaluation of your case before moving forward.

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