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Fifteen minute consultation: Fever in children being treated for cancer
  1. Jessica E Morgan
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jessica E Morgan, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York, York YO10 5DD, UK; jess.morgan{at}


Fever is a common symptom in children receiving treatment for cancer. Clinicians and families are most concerned about febrile neutropenia, though non-neutropenic fever often causes more challenging treatment dilemmas. This article provides a structured approach to the initial assessment, examination, investigation and risk assessment of children with fever during treatment for childhood cancer. Non-neutropenic fever in children with cancer is not well researched. There are no systematic reviews of its management and no National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) (or other international) guidance about what to do. Features to consider when managing non-neutropenic fever are discussed. Febrile neutropenia, meanwhile, is an oncological emergency and requires management using standard sepsis principles including administration of broad-spectrum antibiotics. Relevant NICE guidance provides a clear structure for treatment. Ongoing management depends on the response to initial treatment.

  • febrile neutropenia
  • oncology
  • infectious diseases

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  • Contributors JEM designed, wrote and revised the article.

  • Funding The author has not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.