Introduction

Patients with cancer are at risk for serious adverse events that result from their treatment, the cancer, or both. The management of these complications is generally referred to as supportive care (or symptom management). Treatment-related complications include chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV), febrile neutropenia (FN), extravasation, hemorrhagic cystitis, mucositis, and tumor lysis syndrome (TLS).

Tumor or cancer-related complications include superior vena cava (SVC) obstruction, spinal cord compression, and hypercalcemia and brain metastases. In some cases, these events can be life-threatening. SVC obstruction, spinal cord compression, TLS, and hypercalcemia have traditionally been defined as oncologic emergencies. Although some of these conditions are not imminently life-threatening (i.e., chemotherapy extravasation), as a group of treatment- and disease-related complications in the oncology population, they do require rapid assessment and supportive care interventions/treatment. The onset of oncologic emergencies may herald the onset of an undiagnosed malignancy or progression/relapse of a pre-existing malignancy. Optimal management of patients with various oncologic emergencies and complications requiring supportive care interventions can significantly decrease morbidity and mortality in patients with cancer. This chapter provides an overview of these issues. First, an overview of the management of common side effects of treatment will be discussed. Later, a summary of common oncologic emergencies will be presented.

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