Guide Be Patient: Chemotherapy

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Your chemotherapy teamIf you need chemotherapy, a team of highly trained medical professionals will work Net, Doctor-Approved Patient Information.
Table of contents

Patients identified all side effects associated with their treatment using a set of 45 cards that named physical side effects Group A and a set of 27 cards that named nonphysical side effects Group B , and the patients ranked these side effects according to severity.

Caring For a Loved One During Chemotherapy

The top 5 cards from each group were then combined, and the resulting 10 cards were rated again by severity, regardless of group. Results were analyzed for the entire cohort and for demographic, social, and clinical subgroups. RESULTS: The participants included 65 women and 35 men; the most common malignancies were breast carcinoma 40 patients , gastrointestinal carcinoma 19 patients , lung carcinoma 7 patients , and ovarian carcinoma 9 patients.

I used to think that these second opinions were illuminating for patients and nudged them towards change. But what I have learnt in the last few years is that cancer patients in search of alternative cures are more deeply entrenched than ever in their beliefs.

Thanks to the rise of social media, the ability to filter out conflicting viewpoints and a bevy of supporters for every outrageous idea, these people arrive convinced about their theories. Despite the longest consultations, carried out by disadvantaging other needy patients, these patients are often the most dissatisfied because oncologists like me speak our truths with less conviction than the quacks who promise the world but deliver nothing except a lonely death in an unfamiliar emergency room in front of a bewildered family.

A survey commissioned by the American Society of Clinical Oncology spoke to more than 4, American adults, a quarter of whom were current or former cancer patients. This is despite the fact that patients who solely choose alternative therapies have a greater than twofold risk of mortality, and those with early-stage cancers such as those of the breast and bowel face a four to sixfold increase in mortality compared with those who have standard therapy. It is tempting to think that modern patients with access to multiple vetted channels of information and, equally, many sources of health warnings, will use them to their advantage.


Alas, the survey found that nearly half of those under the age of 53 thought that cancer can be cured by alternative therapies alone. Even among people directly affected by cancer, a quarter believed in alternative therapy over standard treatments. If anyone was relying on family to help them see the light, more than a third of caregivers for cancer patients shared the misguided belief in alternative cures.

Enzymes, waves and magnets do not cure cancer, and they cost the patient every step of the way. Small bottles of unknown and frequently adulterated or plainly toxic substances cost hundreds of dollars , not to mention every consultation that pretends to read the eyes and sense the energy to cure cancer, even as the patient worsens. How do I know? At low doses the patient may experience nausea, malaise, exhaustion, minor hair loss, mouth sores, and possible damage to ones reproductive system.

How to Manage Chemotherapy Symptoms Through Food - Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

They may receive their allotted chemotherapy dosing through weekly pill or injection -- though you would never know it. As an autoimmune disease patient myself suffering from systemic sclerosis scleroderma , lupus, and vasculitis, I have undergone both low, and high dose chemotherapy. I received weekly injectable low dose chemotherapy for two years, and a weekly pill form for another year after that.

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At that low dosing I had significant hair thinning, including my head, eyelashes, and eyebrows nausea and fatigue a few days following the injection, and damage to my fertility. Most people around me had no idea I was getting weekly chemotherapy, but I was. No matter how low the dosing, the class of drug and what it does for the body doesn't change, simply the side effects are lessened.

Chemotherapy is chemotherapy no matter how you receive it, or how much.

Coping with Chemotherapy

Since I now have serious organ involvement with a fatal prognosis I have been moved to the higher intravenous dosing of chemo, one that the society acknowledges due to its obvious side effects. I have lost all of my hair, become sterile, and spent long nights in nauseated misery in the attempt to abolish my malfunctioning immune cells. I must follow this regimen every 28 days for the next year, then be switched back to the low dose weekly chemo for the rest of my life. Chemotherapy never ends for autoimmune patients like myself.

No, I do not have cancer, but I am going through chemotherapy.


For some reason the general population cannot seem to comprehend this. They believe chemo is somehow not "real chemo" if it isn't attached to a cancer diagnosis. This is absolutely inaccurate.

Again, the fact of the matter is chemotherapy is chemotherapy.