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Everyday Support

Dear Iris: Are Crowds Safe?

Dear Iris,

I bought my daughter Taylor Swift concert tickets for her birthday — she’s a huge fan. With thousands of people ready to buy as soon as they were released, I couldn’t believe I got them. What I didn’t expect at that time was that I’d be starting cancer treatment two weeks before the show. Do I need to cancel because of the large crowds? I’d hate to miss this.


Dear L, 

No one sees cancer coming, so I’m sorry you’re dealing with this life shift.

This is an important topic to talk to your medical team about. Everyone’s immune system can react differently to cancer and cancer treatment, so the risk of being in a large crowd may vary at different points.

Depending on the type of treatment you will be receiving, the risk of infection may not be the only side effect you could experience. It’s important to talk to your care team about the timeline for side effects related to your treatment so that you can make the best decision regarding your plans.

There are a few things you can do to lower your risk of infection. These include: 

  • Washing your hands often with water and soap 

  • Carrying alcohol-based sanitizer with you in case you don’t have access to a sink 

  • Avoiding (as best as possible) anyone who’s actively sick with a cold, flu, or other potentially contagious illness 

  • Masking if you plan to be in an indoor venue with many people around

If you feel up for it, and your care team gives you the “go” to attend, plan to arrive at the venue early to avoid the long lines getting in, familiarize yourself with the locations of the restrooms, and make sure you are hydrating well throughout the night.

Do make sure that you notify your medical team if you have any signs or symptoms of infection such as fever, cough, or sore throat.

Most of all, have fun!

Have a question?

Jessica Suarez, BSN, RN, OCN

Senior Oncology RN

Iris Oncology

After working in various specialties throughout her career as a nurse, oncology holds a dear place in Jessica Suarez’s heart. Having supported family members and friends through cancer care has greatly impacted her desire to serve this specific population. Jessica has significant clinical experience working with head and neck, esophageal, and lung cancers and is passionate about working with patients to identify barriers or gaps in care and empowering them with the tools necessary to overcome them.

This article meets Iris standards for medical accuracy. It has been fact-checked by the Iris Clinical Editorial Board, our team of oncology experts who ensure that the content is evidence based and up to date. The Iris Clinical Editorial Board includes board-certified oncologists and pharmacists, psychologists, advanced practice providers, licensed clinical social workers, oncology-certified nurses, and dietitians.