Medical visits for chemotherapy and chemotherapy-induced neutropenia: a survey of the impact on patient time and activities

BMC Cancer. 2004 May 20;4:22. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-4-22.


Background: Patients with cancer must make frequent visits to the clinic not only for chemotherapy but also for the management of treatment-related adverse effects. Neutropenia, the most common dose-limiting toxicity of myelosuppressive chemotherapy, has substantial clinical and economic consequences. Colony-stimulating factors such as filgrastim and pegfilgrastim can reduce the incidence of neutropenia, but the clinic visits for these treatments can disrupt patients' routines and activities.

Methods: We surveyed patients to assess how clinic visits for treatment with chemotherapy and the management of neutropenia affect their time and activities.

Results: The mean amounts of time affected by these visits ranged from approximately 109 hours (hospitalization for neutropenia) and 8 hours (physician and chemotherapy) to less than 3 hours (laboratory and treatment with filgrastim or pegfilgrastim). The visits for filgrastim or pegfilgrastim were comparable in length, but treatment with filgrastim requires several visits per chemotherapy cycle and treatment with pegfilgrastim requires only 1 visit.

Conclusions: This study provides useful information for future modelling of additional factors such as disease status and chemotherapy schedule and provides information that should be considered in managing chemotherapy-induced neutropenia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Filgrastim
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor / analogs & derivatives*
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neutropenia / chemically induced*
  • Neutropenia / drug therapy
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Quality of Life*
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Sickness Impact Profile
  • Time Factors


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • pegfilgrastim
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Filgrastim