Patients receiving chemotherapy as a part of their cancer treatment often have a lowered immunity and may be unable to fight off infections. This can mean that they are at risk of serious illness or death. Patients on chemotherapy are instructed to take their temperature, if they feel unwell and report this to the cancer centre as soon as possible.
These patients will be asked to attend hospital and undergo assessment including a blood test. If their blood test reveals that their anti-infection cells (white cells) are low they will need to stay in hospital to receive antibiotics as a drip treatment. We wish to test whether a new piece of equipment, which can perform this blood test at home, using one drop of blood, (not dissimilar to a diabetic testing their sugar levels) can prevent patients from being admitted to hospital unnecessarily by ruling out a low white cell count.
This pilot study will explore the acceptability of this test to patients and also the safety of using it as an aid to the decision making processes with the medical team. If the pilot study is successful we will later explore the use of this equipment in a clinical trial in which we will assess the overall benefit to patients as well as the economic impact.
We would like to see whether this equipment should be considered for routine use in patients receiving chemotherapy, in order to improve patient choice, control and independence in relation to their illness.