Sarah Klemencic, MD; Jack Perkins, MD


Western J Emerg Med. 2019;20(2):316-322. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Oncologic emergencies may be seen in any emergency department and will become more frequent as our population ages and more patients receive chemotherapy. Life-saving interventions are available for certain oncologic emergencies if the diagnosis is made in a timely fashion. In this article we will cover neutropenic fever, tumor lysis syndrome, hypercalcemia of malignancy, and hyperviscosity syndrome. After reading this article the reader should be much more confident in the diagnosis, evaluation, and management of these oncologic emergencies.


Oncologic emergencies are common in emergency medicine (EM). However, they may not often present to emergency departments (ED) that do not serve a robust oncology population. Furthermore, some oncologic emergencies can be subtle in presentation and may be overlooked, contributing to increased morbidity and mortality. We have selected four of the most important oncologic emergencies to review. We will highlight pearls and pitfalls for the emergency physician (EP) so that the recognition, evaluation, and management of these conditions will result in better patient outcomes.