Managing Side Effects

Patients Receive Better Care When Radiation Oncologists and Palliative Care Specialists Work Together

October 5, 2015

Palliative care focuses on preventing, managing, and relieving the symptoms of cancer and the side effects of cancer treatment. It also provides comprehensive support to people living with cancer and their family, friends, and caregivers. At Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, doctors are trying an innovative new approach to caring for patients with advanced cancer who need radiation therapy, typically for cancer that has spread. In this approach, patients are evaluated by both radiation oncologists and specialists in palliative care.

New Treatment, Pacritinib, Helps Ease Myelofibrosis Symptoms

ASCO Annual Meeting
May 30, 2015

A recent study showed that the drug pacritinib works better for myelofibrosis than current treatments. Myelofibrosis is a rare blood cancer that develops when the bone marrow is unable to make enough blood cells. As a result, the spleen takes over the role of making blood cells but becomes quite enlarged. Patients also often experience tiredness, weakness, shortness of breath, fever, and weight loss because of an enlarged spleen. In addition, myelofibrosis turns into acute leukemia in about a third of patients with this disease.

Certain People with HPV-Positive Head and Neck Cancer May Benefit From a Lower Dose of Radiation Therapy

ASCO Annual Meeting
May 30, 2014

Early research suggests that lowering the dose of radiation therapy for some people with oropharyngeal cancer is an effective treatment option and may help reduce long-term side effects. This new approach customizes the radiation dose based on a person’s response to initial chemotherapy, as well as other factors known to affect a person’s chance of recovery, such as whether the tumor has tested positive for the human papillomavirus (HPV), the tumor’s size, and the person’s smoking history.

Taking Zoledronic Acid Less Often After the First Year of Treatment Is Safe for Women with Metastatic Breast Cancer

ASCO Annual Meeting
May 30, 2014

According to new findings from a phase III clinical trial, women taking zoledronic acid (Zometa) for breast cancer that has spread to the bone, called metastases, can safely scale back to a once-every-three-months schedule after finishing a year of monthly treatments.

Anti-Depressant Helps Manage Peripheral Neuropathy From Chemotherapy

ASCO Annual Meeting
June 4, 2012

In a new study, researchers found that the drug duloxetine (Cymbalta) helps treat a painful side effect of chemotherapy called peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that occurs when nerves in the body's peripheral nervous system (outside the brain and spinal cord) are damaged. Depending on where the damaged nerves are located, it can cause numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, pain, muscle weakness, constipation, and dizziness.

Olanzapine May Manage Nausea and Vomiting From Chemotherapy When Other Treatments Fail

ASCO Annual Meeting
May 16, 2012

A recent study showed that the drug olanzapine (Zyprexa) helps manage nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy when the usual treatments for these side effects are not working. Nausea and vomiting is a common, but often manageable, side effect of chemotherapy. However, despite treatments given to prevent nausea and vomiting, about 30% to 40% of patients taking certain types of chemotherapy still have nausea and vomiting. When this happens, it is called breakthrough nausea and vomiting.

Flaxseed Does Not Reduce Hot Flashes

ASCO Annual Meeting
June 5, 2011

Recent research on the effects of flaxseed showed that it doesn't help reduce hot flashes for women who have gone through menopause. Hot flashes are a common symptom of menopause and hormonal therapy for breast cancer. Using estrogen can help reduce hot flashes, but many women are concerned about the risks of this type of treatment. An early, smaller study suggested that taking flaxseed may help reduce hot flashes.


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