Chemotherapy May Cause Added Complications For Cancer Patients

Friday, August 18th 2006, 10:45 am
By: News On 6

A new study suggests younger breast cancer patients suffer more serious side effects from chemotherapy than previously thought. Researchers say one in six of those women winds up in the emergency room because of infection, low blood counts, dehydration and nausea.

News on 6 Anchor Terry Hood says it was thought women under 64 could tolerate chemo well, but this new study found ER visit rates three times higher than previous estimates.

The News on 6 visited with Laura Gaines; she was diagnosed cancer seven years ago. It started in her breast and spread to her brain and liver. She says she started treatment with natural supplements, but later realized she needed medical help. Laura says chemo was difficult, but it ultimately saved her life. "From my own experience, I was afraid but I knew I couldn't walk away and do nothing. So I’m thankful that I did take treatment."

Dr. Simeon Jagernath with the Cancer Treatment Center: "the problem most people have with chemotherapy is that it tends to be intolerant when they have cumulative effects over a long period of time and multiple doses where they develop side effects."

Dr. Jagemath says integrated treatment using chemo and other treatments can usually deter some of the side effects.

Doctors say a common cause of chemotherapy complications is patients simply not telling their doctor every medicine they are taking even some vitamins can cause complications.