Oral Mucositis: Side Effect Of Antica...

Oral Mucositis: Side Effect Of Anticancer Therapy Highlighted During Breast Cancer Awareness Month

There are 9 comments on the Medical News Today story from Oct 18, 2008, titled Oral Mucositis: Side Effect Of Anticancer Therapy Highlighted During Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In it, Medical News Today reports that:

Main Category: Breast Cancer Also Included In: Dentistry ; Radiology / Nuclear Medicine Article Date: 17 Oct 2008 - 7:00 PDT As millions of Americans participate in educational initiatives as part of National ...

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Since: Dec 05

Irvington, NJ

#1 Dec 22, 2008
The most common side effects of chemotherapy like oral mucositis or thrombocytopenia (abnormally low number of platelets in bloodstream), are indications characterized by a lack of effective therapies.

Patient tumors with the same histology do not necessarily respond identically to the same agent or dose schedule of multiple agents. More effective tumor match to drug agents can avoid ineffective drugs and spare patients the side effects normally associated with these agents.

Eliminating potentially ineffective drugs from treatment regimens and formulating an optimal therapy choice for each patient can spare the patient from unnecessary toxicity associated with ineffective treatment and offers a better chance of tumor response resulting in progression-free and overall survival.

Adverse effects and costs of chemotherapy greater than previously thought

Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School have found that breast cancer patients 63 years of age or younger may experience more chemotherapy-related serious adverse effects than reported in clinical trials, according to a study the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Led by Michael J. Hassett, MD, MPH, of Dana-Farber, researchers studied a database of medical claims made by women with newly diagnosed breast cancer who had employer-provided health insurance between January 1998 and December 2002.

"This is the first study, to our knowledge, of chemotherapy-related serious adverse effects in a population-based sample of younger women with breast cancer," said Hassett, who is also an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School. "We found that eight chemotherapy-related serious adverse effects may be more common than reported in large clinical trials, and, therefore, these adverse effects may be responsible for more patient suffering and higher health care expenditures than currently predicted."

Doctors often prescribe chemotherapy to eliminate residual cancer cells in women who have undergone surgery for breast cancer. Women who received chemotherapy were more likely to be hospitalized or visit emergency rooms for problems that are typically related to chemotherapy, including fever or infection, low white blood cell or platelet count, nausea, diarrhea, malnutrition, or dehydration.

Researchers studied 7,052 women from a database of claims made to health plans that contract with large employers in the U.S. The group was equally divided into two cohorts of 3,526: those who received chemotherapy within 12 months of their first breast cancer diagnosis, and those who did not.

In addition to more incidents of chemotherapy-related adverse effects, women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer also experienced increased healthcare costs:$1,271 more per year for hospitalizations and emergency room visits and $17,617 more per year for ambulatory care than women who did not receive chemotherapy.

Source: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Harvard School of Public Health.
Gail Perry

Spring Hill, FL

#2 Dec 22, 2008
This simply isn't true. I had oral mucositis, with dentures. My dentist prescribed something that cleared it up right away. And, low platelets 1) is not the most common (anemia is), and 2) really can be prevented or treated.

Yes, of course chemotherapy can lead to extra medical expenses. As I pointed out to my doctor, if I wanted to save money a funeral would have been cheaper.

Saving money wasn't my primary goal.

Chemo wasn't bad at all, and there were NO unmanageable side effects. I have yet to figure out why gdp wants to scare people away from it, except possibly to feel smarter than everyone else.

Chemo was also psychologically comforting, because I knew I was doing everything I could to beat the cancer.

Since: Dec 05

Irvington, NJ

#3 Dec 27, 2008
"Chemo wasn't bad at all, and there were no unmanageable side effects." It seems that your message Gail is chemotherapy is a "piece of cake" and everyone should line up to take their piece. And instilling "fear" into everyone that no one will never succeed in fighting the great crab without having chemo is extremely disingenuous, let alone dangerous!

It seems the medical profession doesn't want to hear about the side effects of treatment for cancer and keeps referring to the lives of patients loss this way as rare. If it was their lives, they might not call it rare. Some people would have you believe that because "their" bodies didn't give out after receiving chemotherapy or radiation that these treatments are always okay. Cancer patients who die, having undergone toxic treatments which sap their energy and harm their immune systems are heralded as brave souls.

Cancer chemotherapy and radiation therapy almost without exception, will damage some normal tissue and diminish the immune system. Radiation has been known for a long time to both enhance cancer growth and to halt cancer growth. Damaging the immune system in turn is known to foster the growth of some kinds of other cancer. We do not yet have really outstanding treatments for most cancers, and many oncologists become more and more likely to misue them in their practice.

Modern medicine in general and cancer treatment in particular, is very imperfect. In the hopes of curing disease or helping patients, the medical profession uses rather drastic treatments for devastating diseases they know will kill someone in a short time. Many oncologists don't make the families aware enough that these treatments are drastic and can have serious side effects. Having a good and clinically practical drug selection system is no less important than the discovery of new drugs or how to put them into the body.
Gail Perry

United States

#4 Dec 27, 2008
I think you have a financial interes in making these posts.

Of course cancer treatment is imperfect. If treatment for breast cancer, for instance, were perfect, we wouldn't have 240,000 people dying of it each year. Yes, we know that both chemo and radiation are harsh. We know that there are risks at hand, but sometimes you have to deal with the disease you're faced with rather than worrying about the one that MIGHT be 20 years down the road. That was quite a simple choice for me.

Why you end truths with sweeping generalizations (such as oncologists "misusing" treatments) without support (oh, duh -- there is no accurate support for them) is beyond me.

Why you rant on and on about things we need when it's obvious to everyone is beyond me, but the overall effect of your cumulative posts is to disparage oncology and to discourage people not only from treatment, but now, diagnosis as well.

I'm not going to sit around and stay silent when you do that. Three years ago I wouldn't even have noticed, but then I had breast cancer, and I did a lot of research. I know you're distorting what you've read and probably reading highly selectively as well.

By the way, I suggest you learn how these boards work. When threads I am interested in have activity, I get an email alert. No one is "stalking" you. I'm paying attention to issues important to me, and you *happen* to be ranting on them a lot. It isn't about you. It is, however, about your boatload of misinformation.

Since: Dec 05

Irvington, NJ

#5 Dec 27, 2008
Like I said above, you are extremely disingenuous and dangerous! One must be objective and decide at what point the benefits of drugs truly outweigh the risks they present. Some of the risks are minor and others are tolerable in that they are reversible, short-term or non-life threatening. Many of the risks are extremely serious and are difficult to balance against relief from anything but the most severe symptoms. For some people the risks may be acceptable, for others, not.
Gail Perry

United States

#6 Dec 27, 2008
I think you are disengenuous and dangerous. I agree with the call for objectivity. What I keep saying is that YOU are not objective. That's the point.

Since: Dec 05

Irvington, NJ

#7 Dec 31, 2008
So be it Gail, the earth is not flat.
#8 Sep 23, 2013
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#9 Sep 23, 2013
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