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flu shot

Posts: 88
Joined: Dec 2010

Hello All,
I am starting chemo on Feb. 8 (my 31st wedding anniversary!) for Uterine Papillary Serous Carcinoma, after undergoing surgery on December 29th. Luckily the cancer did not appear to have spread. I also will start radiation soon. My question, my chemo nurse recommended a flu shot prior to chemo. Is this normal recommendation? My daughter, a chemo nurse at another hospital says in her hospital they recommend against the flu shot. So I am confused. I will have to go to a local clinic at a pharmacy to get the flu shot, which also baffles me. My regular family doctor does not have it, nor my oncology doc. Who has had the flu shot prior to chemo and who has not, and why?

Thanks, Jan

kanary01's picture
Posts: 21
Joined: Jun 2009

Hi, I had the flu shot given to me when I went in for my chemo treatment. This was last year. Hope this helps..

kkstef's picture
Posts: 706
Joined: May 2008

I started chemo in Sept and flu shots were not available yet....but I was advised to get one early while my blood counts were good. If you get flu while receiving chemo/radiation your immune system is already challenged and you can have a harder time dealing with the flu.

Oncologists do not typically have the vaccine in their office and actually any more many physicians aren't keeping it in stock as it is hard to come by and costly if they don't use it all. In our city, it is generally readily available at grocery stores, etc. but this late in the season the only place we can get it as at a large pharmacy chain.

Wishing you the best!


Double Whammy's picture
Double Whammy
Posts: 2835
Joined: Jun 2010

Like Karen, I started chemo B4 flu shots were available, but my primary care doc made sure I got it (and a pneumonia shot) when I saw her in December. Oncologist never said a word about it - before, after, or during. I have a hard time knowing who's in charge of what with me, but all the docs I see (except my primary care physician) seem to like to tell me what isn't their job! My gyn oncologist says they pass me off like a baton. Isn't that swell?


kkstef's picture
Posts: 706
Joined: May 2008

Suzanne, Your comment about "knowing who's in charge of what" hits the nail on the head. I also find that my primary physician tends to attribute my "intestinal issues" to the radiation and my gyn onc does NOT agree. I haven't actually read any of my doc's "job descriptions" but I am thinking we could write a very good one for them!! Hmmm...the more I think about that the more I am liking that! I bet this group could come with a VERY good one!



Sara Zipora's picture
Sara Zipora
Posts: 231
Joined: Sep 2010

Me too, Started Chemo in August, asked about flu shot given at hospital to staff,I.e. where I work, in October, and told by Onco nurse and Onco Doc, to take it. So I did. Knock on wood, haven't had flu.
Sara Zipora

barb55's picture
Posts: 91
Joined: Jan 2009

A flu shot station is set up yearly on the oncology floor at my hospital. It was strongly recommended by my oncologists and I get one every year since my diagnosis.

daisy366's picture
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

I was getting chemo and my onc recommended the flu shot for me. I had it in Oct, no problems.

Mary Ann

Kaleena's picture
Posts: 2064
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Jan:

I was advised to get the flu shot. Also, with regard to my recent surgery, about a month or two prior my surgery I also got the pneumonia shot too.

I was a bit skeptical because prior to my diagnosis, I never really got the flu shot. I recently just got my tentnas too!


Posts: 134
Joined: May 2010

Hi Jan,
My oncology docs made sure that I got a flu shot before chemo. You need to get it before because it takes 2 weeks for your body to develop the antibodies to protect you. But you also need white cells to develop the antibodies. So you don't want your WBC count to be too low or else your body won't be able to develop the immune response.
The flu shot is dead organism anyway so you can't get the flu from it. Although many people swear that the vaccination makes them sick. We can't afford to get the flu. I hope your onc. docs want you to have it.

Posts: 88
Joined: Dec 2010

Hello, Thanks to all who posted. I did find a clinic to get the flu shot, oncologist didn't have any, primary didn't have any, nor did endocrinologist and no hospital clinics at this point. I realize part of the reason is it is January! Next year I will be prepared! Yeah, I am starting to feel like a bouncing ball with all these different doctors and such, 4 doc appointments this week, but hey, I am fortunate I can go!(I also have thyroid nodules that were found on a PET scan prior to surgery.) Anyway, I went to a CVS clinic and got the flu on Wednesday near my home, with 20 days to go prior to my first chemo treatment and 28 for the first brachytherapy radiation. No side effects from the flu shot. Jan

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