As\u00a0flu season\u00a0approaches, cancer\u00a0patients often ask whether they should receive flu shots.\nIt’s difficult to deal with both a cancer diagnoses and treatment program. Wondering and worrying about the ways common health ailments may impact your treatment adds another layer of complexity during this difficult time.\nHere are five fast facts about cancer and the flu:\nAm I more at risk for getting the flu if I have cancer?\nBoth people with cancer and cancer survivors are at a higher risk for developing complications if they get the flu. However, it is unknown if\u00a0patients and survivors are more likely to get the flu.\nShould I get a flu shot?\nIf you are receiving treatment, you should always talk to your oncologist about getting a flu shot. If you’re in follow-up care, you can ask your primary care physician. Always ensure\u00a0your oncologist is in the loop. Your care team can advise you on what type of flu preventive is best for you.\nI’m currently undergoing cancer treatment \u2014\u00a0can I still get a flu shot?\nCancer treatment can sometimes weaken a patient’s immune system, putting the patient at a higher risk of serious problems from the flu. You can get a flu shot, but it is important you always ask your oncologist. You may have mild symptoms after getting the flu shot. This is normal, and the symptoms should subside within a few days. If you have questions or concerns, consult with your doctor.\nWhen should I get the flu shot, and how often?\nFlu shots become available before October, and it is generally advised to get one as soon as it is available. You should get a flu shot once a year. As a seasonal vaccine, it is adjusted as needed to protect against the upcoming year’s flu viruses. You should, however, \u00a0always talk to your oncologist about when and if you should get the flu shot.\nHow else can I protect myself from the flu?\nThough it may be difficult to prevent getting the flu, you should:\n\nWash your hands thoroughly and frequently.\nGet plenty of rest and maintain a healthy diet.\nEncourage family\/friends\/caregivers to get the flu shot.\nAvoid large crowds during flu season if you are undergoing active treatment.\nLimit shaking hands.\nAvoid symptomatic individuals.\n\nAdvise your doctor if you experience flu-like symptoms, including a fever, fatigue, or headache. Many of these symptoms may mimic cancer symptoms and side effects, so notify your doctor of any changes.\nIf you have questions about cancer and treatment of the disease, visit the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center website or call 412-647-2811 to schedule an appointment.