Are extra precautions to stay away from the Flu or a cold necessary

Posted By
11/22/2017 10:06am
Replies: 5

My husband is currently undergoing immunotherapy for stage 4 melanoma due to tumors found in his lymph nodes.  My niece just called and mentioned her daughter has a small grade fever and is wondering if they should stay home tomorrow (Thanksgiving) as to not bring germs around my husband.  His Dr. has never said one way or the other rather he should take extra percautions not to get sick.  He works, and is out and about around people all the time.  I left a message for our Dr's nurse but am told there aren't to many people in the office today so it may take them a while to get back to me.  I thought I would ask this group what your experience has been.  He is otherwise healthy, seldom gets sick.   I am worried that if he gets sick that they might want him to skip a treatment until he is better, and we don't want to skip any treatments as he is responding so good to them.


Thank you.

If he has melanoma in his lymph nodes but not  in vital organs, he  is technically stage 3a/b/c ,not stage IV; just noting.Best of luck

Hi - I would say have a really nice visit with your family!! My sister has had a couple of flu viruses and colds while on immunotherapy and never had a treatment interrupted because of it. She also does NOT bother with a flu shot and teaches primary school, so is exposed to lots of little kids (just returned to work after two years off). Hope this helps. Best wishes and enjoy your holiday!!


I was on Nivolumab (Opdivo) for 2 1/2 years.  I continued my work as a Pediatric Provider during the entire time. I did get colds and various things (including active wheezing as I am an asthmatic and had mild pneumonitis several times) but never had to skip a treatment due to them.  Treatments are postponed generally only if lab work or patient's condition is compromised due to side effects from the treatment itself.  Finally, flu vaccines ARE recommended to folks on immunotherapy, just like they are to most other people...though some choose not to take them. Hope this helps.  Glad your husband is responding well.  Enjoy your holiday.  Celeste

In response to my own post, the Dr. just called.  He said my husband does not need to worry about catching a bug any more or any less then he used to.  He is not more susceptible to getting sick then before, nor will it result in anything more serious because he has cancer.  In fact I think he implied that the immunotherapy treatments make him less likely to catch something since his immune system is stimulated.  


I asked my medical oncologist that very question yesterday and she recommended that I skip it this year (but I am also in a clinical trial and they probably don't want to confound the data). She said normally on immunotherapy alone she would recommend a flu vaccine but as always ask you doc what he/she thinks for your unique situation (sounded like lawyer speak there didn't it!?).