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|New Survey Highlights Growing Concern About Risk of Infection in Cancer Patients and Emerging Antibiotic Resistance|
Cancer patients are at a higher risk for infection due to a compromised immune system caused by both the cancer and chemotherapy treatment. Neutropenia, a low white blood cell count, is a common and potentially dangerous side effect in patients receiving strong chemotherapy. It can lead to a heightened risk of infection that can require hospitalization and be life-threatening. Each year, 60,000 cancer patients are hospitalized for chemotherapy-induced neutropenia, and a patient dies every two hours from this complication. Neutropenia also can potentially disrupt chemotherapy treatment, including both dose delays and dose reductions. Studies show that for certain types of cancer, chemotherapy produces the best long-term results when patients receive the full dose on schedule.
"The survey findings show that one in four chemotherapy patients report having an infection during treatment, with more than a third requiring a second course of antibiotics," said Sean Harper, M.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Development at Amgen. "Infections associated with cancer treatment are increasing and are often serious, highlighting the need for a program to improve infection control and appropriate antibiotic management in these high-risk patients."
To help raise awareness of the risks and impact of infections in cancer patients, Amgen is joining forces with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Foundation, and the Divisions of Healthcare Quality and Promotion and Cancer Prevention and Control at CDC on a three-year initiative to provide resources and educational tools to help cancer patients, their caregivers and healthcare professionals.
The initiative includes the development of evidence-based curricula for healthcare providers on infection control for cancer patients and appropriate antibiotic stewardship, and an interactive online education tool for patients on what to expect from treatment, as well as how to prevent and manage infection during treatment.
"Programs to improve infection control in cancer patients, whose immune systems may be compromised by chemotherapy, will aid in saving the lives of these high-risk patients," said Charles Stokes, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. "This initiative will bring together experts in oncology and infectious disease to raise awareness of this public health concern, and reduce the risk of infections, and ultimately, related deaths."
Survey Result Highlights:
Infections among chemotherapy patients are fairly common.
-- Nearly one in four patients surveyed (24 percent) had an infection in
the last 12 months while receiving chemotherapy treatment. Of these
Antibiotic resistance is a growing concern.
-- Nearly all ID specialists (91 percent) report being very or extremely
concerned about emerging antibiotic resistance in cancer patients.
Oncologists believe antibiotics are overused in preventing infections.
-- 58 percent of oncologists believe antibiotics are overused in an effort
to prevent infections in chemotherapy patients.
Physicians are concerned about the impact of infections in cancer patients.
-- 87 percent of ID specialists are extremely or very concerned about the
impact of infections on overall outcomes for chemotherapy patients,
including overall survival and disease-free survival.
The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive, Inc. an independent market research and polling organization, with support from Amgen Inc. The survey included 430 interviews with cancer patients who are currently undergoing chemotherapy or who have undergone chemotherapy in the past 12 months, 150 oncologists and 151 infectious disease specialists. Data was collected from March 20, 2009 through April 15, 2009.
Methodology: Oncologists and Infectious Disease Specialists
Physician samples were drawn at random from the AMA master file of oncologists and infectious disease specialists. The AMA list was then matched to the Harris Interactive Online Physician Panel (HIPP) by ME number. Oncologists and infectious disease specialists on the AMA list who matched the HIPP were then included in the sampling frame and recruited to participate via e-mail invitation. Specialists in the AMA random draw who were not members of the HIPP were invited to participate via first-class mail. All e-mail and first-class mail invitations included a URL and password for one-time use to allow participants to log on to the Internet and participate in the survey research.
Patients who were currently undergoing chemotherapy or had completed chemotherapy within the past year were recruited using the Harris Interactive Chronic Illness Panel (CIP). Patients were recruited to participate via e-mail invitation, which included a URL and password for one-time use to allow participants to log on to the Internet and participate in the survey research.
Amgen discovers, develops, manufactures and delivers innovative human therapeutics. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen was one of the first companies to realize the new science's promise by bringing safe and effective medicines from lab, to manufacturing plant, to patient. Amgen therapeutics have changed the practice of medicine, helping millions of people around the world in the fight against cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis and other serious illnesses. With a deep and broad pipeline of potential new medicines, Amgen remains committed to advancing science to dramatically improve people's lives. To learn more about our pioneering science and our vital medicines, visit www.Amgen.com.
Video is available for this story via satellite on Wednesday May 27th. See below for feed time/coordinates:
FEED DATE: WEDNESDAY, MAY 27TH, 2009