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Should we worry about the flu many months after chemo?

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  • Should we worry about the flu many months after chemo?

    My husband has come down with what seems like the flu (fever, major body pain, a little cough and runny nose) and I go back and forth from being very worried this could be something serious and feeling silly for thinking that way.

    So in an effort to think more reasonably I thought I would ask all of you.

    This could not be a relapse of any kind, right? And the flu isn't any more dangerous for him this many months out from chemo, right? Before cancer he would not go to the doctor for something like this but now I am wondering if he should....

    Sorry if this is a ridiculous over reaction. I can't seem to think straight when it comes to him anymore.

    Thanks for your time

  • biwi
    Given the information in your signature, chances are extremely slim that this is anything sinister.

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  • melanie
    Thank you for your reply. His Oncologist only orders tumor marker tests every few months so I am not sure about the other blood work, but assume it is normal...?. He is having a hard time being sick as it triggers chemo flashbacks as you said. He is sick of doctors and wont go get checked out so I guess I will just hold my breath and support him the best I can. I just hope his immune system is normal and not damaged form the chemo. Anyway, thank you again for taking the time to reply.

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  • mcintoda
    Hi Melanie,

    I have a similar diagnosis and treatment as your husband.

    I presume he is being monitored by a doctor and his neutrophil count and other blood work returned to normal by now?

    I can share I had the flu after chemo (9 months after). I went to the doc and got a "fast" flu test. My family took Tamiflu but it was too late for me to take it.

    It doesn't hurt to go get a flu test if only so you can be aware of catching it too. The issue is that there might not be anything to do other than treat symptoms. If you catch flu very early you can get an anti-viral called Tamiflu which helps it recover a day or so faster. If you've had flu for several days I don't think this any longer effective.

    Another perspective is: he's probably tired of doctors and clinics after chemo.

    I can also attest that I when I had a stomach bug and was throwing up I was having "flashbacks" to the severe vomiting and nausea from chemo. This can be emotionally difficult.

    One other thing to consider is that if he does have hypogonadism (low-testosterone) as you might after chemo, that the illness like flu can be a double whammy -- the flu itself but then also a drop in testosterone. Low testosterone can result in night sweats, fatigue and general not feeling well. A week after I had the flu my testosterone numbers dropped in half and probably recovered a few weeks after that.

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