Hyderabad: Sixty per cent of leukaemia patients with invasive fungal infection which is contracted during chemotherapy treatment for blood cancer cannot be saved. It is for this reason that it is important to have timely diagnosis and proper intervention to reduce the risk, stated oncologists in the city.
Headaches, discomfort in the eyes, uneasiness in the chest region after chemotherapy treatment are some of the symptoms which must be told to the doctor to rule out fungal infection after chemotherapy treatment. Experts state that chemotherapy has a range of side-effects and due to low immunity levels, invasive fungal infections are found in patients after treatment of blood cancer.
Dr Padmaja Lokireddy, consultant, haemato-oncology and stem cell transplant, at Apollo Hospitals said, “Fungal infections are more common in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) blood cancer patients.
All patients are particularly susceptible because of the high usage of steroid medication administered as part of chemotherapy protocols. Invasive fungal infections attack patients as their immunity is low. It means that the patients must be made aware of the symptoms and diagnosis must be carried out after chemotherapy."
Diagnosis includes CT scan and blood test to verify infections. According to clinical evaluations, it is found that only 40 per cent of leukaemia patients with fungal infections are saved. The remaining sixty per cent do not make it to the hospital on time.
Dr C.H. Srinivas, senior oncologist, said, "The identification of infection at home is a major challenge as it does not happen on time. Patients who undergo chemotherapy must not indulge in gardening activities, avoid construction sites, wear N 95 mask when they go out and avoid pets or bird droppings near windows.