Background and Aim: Parasitic infections, especially opportunistic parasites, can cause serious problems of immunocompromised patients. This study aimed to evaluate parasitic infections in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy who refer to Kashani Hospital of Shahrekord from Janury to May 2018 as a risk factor for parasitic infections .
Methods: In this cross-sectional descriptive study, 750 stool samples were collected from cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy (Three fecal samples from each patient) and sent to the parasitology laboratory of Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences. All samples were examined macroscopically and microscopically through the direct method and a specific acid-fast staining method. To confirm the microscopic results, the DNA of the isolated parasites were extracted and performed by the polymerase chain reaction with the specific primers on positive samples.
Results: In this study, 106 (42.4%) patients were male, 144 (57.6%) were female, 187 (74.8%) were living in urban areas, and 63 (25.2%) were living in rural areas. In terms of education level, most of the patients in this study were low level of literacy; 12 samples (4.8%) were infected with intestinal parasites; 7 (2.8%) cases were infected with Blastocystis hominis; and 5 (2%) patients were infected with Giardia lamblia.
Conclusion: The results of this study showed that B. hominis and G.lamblia are the most prevalent parasite in cancer patients. Although, in this study the prevalence of intestinal parasites in cancer patients was low but these findings should not be contrary to the need for healthcare to prevent parasitic infections in cancer patients.