Suffering through cancer chemotherapy is worth it — when it helps patients live longer. But many patients end up with no real benefit from enduring chemo after surgical removal of a tumor. Going in, it’s been hard to predict how much chemo will help prevent tumor recurrence or improve survival chances.
What is the success rate of chemotherapy?
Five years after treatment, the rate of overall survival was 98.1% for those who had chemo and 98.0% for those who did not. Nine years after treatment, the rate of overall survival was 93.8% for those who had chemo and 93.9% for those who did not.
Why you should not do chemotherapy?
What are the risks of chemotherapy? While chemotherapy may kill rapidly growing cancer cells, the downside is that it may also damage healthy cells in the process. This is often the cause of some common side effects of chemotherapy.
Does chemo do more harm than good?
Doctors have been urged to be more cautious in offering cancer treatment to terminally-ill patients as chemotherapy can often do more harm than good, a study suggests.
What happens if you choose not to have chemotherapy?
If you decide to stop chemotherapy, be sure you’re still getting relief from symptoms such as pain, constipation, and nausea. This is called palliative care, and it’s meant to improve your quality of life. Medications and other treatments, such as radiation, are part of palliative care.
Can chemo shorten life?
During the 3 decades, the proportion of survivors treated with chemotherapy alone increased (from 18% in 1970-1979 to 54% in 1990-1999), and the life expectancy gap in this chemotherapy-alone group decreased from 11.0 years (95% UI, 9.0-13.1 years) to 6.0 years (95% UI, 4.5-7.6 years).
Can a person take chemo for life?
Some people have cancer that can be controlled with treatment and they can live for a long time. If treatment stops working, the hope may change again. It may be hope for time to prepare family and loved ones who will be left behind, for telling them what they have meant to you and what you hope for their futures.
Does chemo get easier?
The effects of chemo are cumulative. They get worse with each cycle. My doctors warned me: Each infusion will get harder. Each cycle, expect to feel weaker.
Is 4 rounds of chemo enough?
Four cycles of adjuvant chemotherapy are sufficient for most breast cancer patients, according to results of a Phase III trial of 3,173 women reported at the CTCR-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
What are the signs that chemo is working?
How Can We Tell if Chemotherapy is Working?
- A lump or tumor involving some lymph nodes can be felt and measured externally by physical examination.
- Some internal cancer tumors will show up on an x-ray or CT scan and can be measured with a ruler.
- Blood tests, including those that measure organ function can be performed.
Why does chemo hurt?
The pain caused by chemotherapy is often described as a burning, numb, tingling, or shooting sensation. It tends to occur in the hands and feet. This is called neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain is the result of damage to the nerves caused by chemotherapy drugs or, sometimes, the cancer itself.