Healthy individuals possess an immune system comprising physical barriers, innate and acquired immunity as well as the indigenous microflora that populate the body surfaces. The immune system maintains constant vigilance over the body at the cellular level as well as at the interface between the host integument and the resident microflora. However, neoplastic diseases and their treatment often lead to impaired immunity resulting in an increased risk of infections due to viruses, bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. This chapter explores the various aspects of host impairment focusing on the components of immunity and the interplay between them to explain why it is that these patients succumb to infections per se. In so doing, we hope that the reader will be better equipped to understand the risks patients face so as to anticipate potential infectious complications and implement appropriate measures to help attain successful remission of the neoplastic diseases and maintain the best quality of life for the patient.
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