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Infections in patients undergoing radiotherapy


When compared to most chemotherapy regimens, radiotherapy carries a lower risk of infections for oncology patients. However, radiotherapy is sometimes combined with chemotherapy, so the overall risk of infection is cumulative. In cases where a patient is treated with radiotherapy alone, the risk of infection depends on various factors. These include the total dose of radiation, the treatment regimen, the anatomical part of the body that is being treated and its size. This is either due to the effect of radiotherapy on immune cells, particularly lymphocytes, or to the radiation-induced damage in mucous membranes.

There are also indirect factors, which contribute on the damage of radiotherapy, such as previous infections in the patient and comorbidities, like diabetes, that the patient may have. Some radiotherapy patients are more susceptible to infections. 

Treating these infections is a challenging process. This is because radiotherapy patients, like most oncology patients, frequently visit health care related settings, so their infections are often caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria. Additionally, it is possible that the antimicrobial medication that is administered for the localized infection could be limited in its effectiveness because the blood supply in the irradiated and infected area is disrupted. 

The Department of Infectious Diseases of the German Medical Institute, in collaboration with our state-of-the-art Department of Radiotherapy, offer the best options for the diagnosis and treatment of infections in each patient undergoing radiotherapy.

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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