The incidence of cancer continues to increase, and many persons receiving treatment for cancer are older adults. Fever in older adults with cancer can be an emergency. Any patient with fever and neutropenia should be given antibiotics as soon as possible. In addition to the immune senescence associated with aging, individuals with cancer have immunodeficiencies specific to their underlying malignancy, and these predispose them to specific infections. Older adults are also at higher risk of the complications of chemotherapy, including infections. Prompt evaluation and judicious management of the febrile cancer patient can reduce morbidity and mortality. The following review considers an approach to the etiologies and evaluation of fever in cancer including the infectious and noninfectious causes.
Key words: fever, cancer, older adults, antibiotics, neutropenia.