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Infections in Oncology


Infections are a major health problem for all of us. We will all experience various types of infections during our lifetime. People with a compromised immune system (immunocompromised) are particularly vulnerable to infections and to the complications that such infections can cause. Additionally, many oncology patients are immunocompromised due to the disease, or to the necessary treatment.

Oncological patients may be susceptible to infection for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The malignant neoplastic disease (cancer) can cause severe immune system dysfunctions through a variety of mechanisms.
  • Cancer treatment can seriously impair the body’s ability to prevent the entry, establishment, and multiplication of infectious agents (bacteria, fungi, viruses, parasites) in the body.
  • A patient’s poor nutrition, which can result from cancer or its treatment, can lead to a nutrient deficiency. This can include a deficiency in important nutrients which are vital for the proper function of the immune system.
  • The existence of non-cancer related health problems which, in combination with cancer, may increase the risk of infections.


The main diseases and infections that affect oncology patients include:

  • Febrile neutropenia after chemotherapy
  • Infectious diseases in patients who are receiving targeted antineoplastic therapies (like small molecule inhibitors) or biological therapies (like immune checkpoint inhibitors) 
  • Infections in patients undergoing radiotherapy 

At the same time, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and future epidemics that may arise, many oncology, and immunocompromised patients in general, are at a higher risk of infection and complications than the general population. Measures to prevent infections, including vaccinations, play an important role in avoiding the above.

The Department of Infectious Diseases at the German Medical Institute offers expert services to both immunocompromised people and to the general population, including people without a pre-existing problem with their immune system.

24-hour Emergency Helpline

(+357) 25 208 000

Emergencies are not yet accredited of the General Health Care System

(+357) 25 208 000

Emergencies are not yet accredited of the General Health Care System.


Dr. Aris Angouridis

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