There are many reasons a person might make a trip to the emergency room. For example, anytime an injury is likely to cause a loss the loss of a limb or even someone’s life is definitely a reason to head to the nearest ER. But did you know that signs of needing to go the ER are a little different for someone who has been diagnosed with cancer?
Nearly one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer treatments are giving way to hope though. By 2024, the number of cancer patients expected to survive their diagnosis is expected to reach almost 19 million. A cancer diagnosis is scary for many patients, however there is hope for many. The key to holding on to hope is knowing what is going on in one’s body, and what they can do to best look out for themselves.
When Should a Cancer Patient Head Into the Emergency Room?
The times when a cancer patient should go to the ER are usually associated with complications due to either the cancer itself, or from a recent radiation treatment. This can be difficult to parse sometimes, as the patient will need to keep track of possible complications and their symptoms. It is recommended that a patient never dismiss a concern, as it is better to be certain than take a risk with one’s health.
The Unique Health Concerns of a Cancer Patient.
Each year, nearly 3.5 million patients go to the ER for a bone fracture. While a broken bone is an obvious sign someone needs to see a doctor, the health concerns of a cancer patient are not always as clear. For example, only a severe fever in an adult is seen as dangerous. However, a temperature of even 101 degrees Fahrenheit is seen as dire in a cancer patient.
The worry comes from the fact that a cancer patient has a weakened immune system. Problems associated with complications from chemotherapy include nausea, vomiting, sudden vertigo, severe headaches, swelling, and rapid mood changes. It is a good idea to make sure all members of the household are aware of possible complications. This ensures that the patient will receive the help they need if they become incapacitated.
Here’s What Might Happen If You Don’t Go to the Emergency Room.
Avoiding a needed trip to the ER could result in losing a limb, brain damage, or death. Now, some people do go to the ER because they are worried, or have no other place to go at the time. These patients might be well-served by a trip to an urgent care center.
For legitimate emergencies, not going to the ER is a decision that will cost you. When it comes to your body, it is never a good idea to bet against one’s health. In the case of cancer patients, a new symptom could be a sign that their treatment needs an adjustment.
A cancer patient has a weakened immune system, which means it is better to catch complications early. Once an illness takes hold, it takes longer for the body to fight it off. In the case of more serious problems such as blood clots, the patient might even lose their leg if it turns out to be deep vein thrombosis, DVT; or pulmonary embolism, PE, which is a clot near the lungs. The medical team will need to work quickly in these instances, so it is better to not wait to make the trip to the ER.
A cancer patient needs to know what the signs of a deeper problem look like. In their case, certain symptoms that would not be an emergency situation for a cancer-free adult are actually signs that they need to see a doctor right away. It is best for them to talk this over with their doctor. The patient needs to be very clear on what constitutes as an emergency for them. Even if the problem turns out to require minor emergency service, it is still worth a trip to the emergency room.