Chemotherapy Brings About Greater and Severer Complications than Expected

More than 16% of women with breast cancer who underwent chemotherapy had to be hospitalized or receive emergency care due to the side effects of the aggressive anti-cancer treatment

A recent study supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that chemotherapy can lead to even more side effects and more serious health disorders than previously expected.

Researchers found that more than 16% of the women who underwent chemotherapy in order to treat breast malignant tumor faced further complications due to the aggressive method of treatment they resorted to. Chemotherapy caused serious side effects in the breast cancer sufferers and called for hospitalization or emergency care.

Chemotherapy basically means treatment of cancer with anti-cancer drugs which aim to annihilate proliferating abnormal cancer cells in the patients' body. Chemotherapy's side effects are mostly due to the toxicity of powerful drugs used in order to treat or ameliorate symptoms of various types of cancer. Most side effects of chemotherapy include dehydration, anemia, hair loss, decrease in the production of body's white cells etc.

The research also showed that after the women suffering from breast cancer began chemotherapy, their risk of experiencing a severe side effect from the powerful anti-cancer drugs rose with 20% per month. Out of the women who received breast cancer chemotherapy, 8% of them experienced infection and high fever, 5,5% experienced reduction in the production of white blood cells, 2,5% electrolyte disorder such as dehydration, 2,4% nausea or diarrhea, 2% fatigue and dizziness, 1,2% deep venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism and under 1% got to suffer from malnutrition.

The Director of AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality), Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., stated: "The study highlights the importance of studying how drugs affect people in everyday medical care. It is important to know the impact of interventions such as chemotherapy so that patients can make informed decisions about the risks and benefits of their treatment options."

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