Is your chemotherapy going to cause a relapse?   1 comment

It is ironic but true that many cancer chemotherapies are known to cause cancers. It is something that the physician must consider when recommending treatment… Most of the drugs that are carcinogenic increase the long-term risk of leukemia and lymphoma by a small margin. (CNN Health)

This was the advice Ronda from Oklahoma received when she wrote into CNN Health to ask about her husband’s health. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1990 and recovered with the aid of chemotherapy. He has recently been diagnosed with adenocarcinoma, and their current doctor suggested that the cause could be his initial chemo treatments.

Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society, goes onto say,

It is difficult to say with certainty that a person with a past history of cancer got a newly diagnosed adenocarcinoma because of chemotherapy.

There are several studies in the literature that tell us that people who get cancer are at a higher risk for getting a second cancer. This is true even among those who are not treated with cancer chemotherapies. Some estimate that 20 percent of long-term cancer survivors eventually develop a second cancer.

The higher risk is due to the fact that people who get cancer have demonstrated a problem in their genes. An identical copy of the problematic genes is in every cell of the patient’s body.

If that is the case, then should patients with demonstrated genetic “problems” be exposed to carcinogenic drugs that are likely to antagonize their trait? I can’t help but think that someday chemotherapy will be looked at as a brute force and archaic medicinal option. Newer technologies such as stem cell transplants and individually customized vaccines offer much more targeted solutions.


Posted October 15, 2010 by lymphomactivist in Uncategorized

One response to “Is your chemotherapy going to cause a relapse?

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  1. This is so scary to think about. I don’t think most people, even cancer patients, realize the dangers of chemo treatments. Hopefully someday we can move past this approach!

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