Complications of chemotherapy – pro

Common adverse effects caused by chemotherapy include hair loss, malaise, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, neutropenia, fever, systemic infection, and thrombocytopenia. However, information on rates of specific toxicities associated with specific chemotherapy regimens is not easily obtainable. Few of the large clinical trials of chemotherapy in breast cancer (and in other cancers) have published rates of specific toxicities or rates of hospitalization from toxicities. A recent major review of toxicity from chemotherapy for breast cancer reported that hospitalization rates for infection after chemotherapy were 2% or less in four large trials (average of the four trials was 1.2%) and that “no deaths” have been reported.

Dehydration is common in regimens that can cause diarrhea or vomiting.

Dollinger, M. Guidelines for Hospitalization for Chemotherapy
The Oncologist, Vol. 1, No. 1_2, 107–111, February 1996

Xianglin L. Du, Cynthia Osborne, James S. Goodwin Population-Based Assessment of Hospitalizations for Toxicity From Chemotherapy in Older Women With Breast Cancer Journal of Clinical Oncology, Vol 20, Issue 24 (December), 2002: 4636-4642

M. J. Hassett, A. J. O’Malley, J. R. Pakes, J. P. Newhouse, and C. C. Earle
Frequency and cost of chemotherapy-related serious adverse effects in a population sample of women with breast cancer.
J Natl Cancer Inst, August 16, 2006; 98(16): 1108 – 1117.

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