Acute side effects of adjuvant chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer
- Charles L Shapiro, MD
Charles L Shapiro, MD
- Professor of Medicine
- Director of Translational Breast Cancer Research
- Director of Cancer Survivorship, Tisch Cancer Institute
Adjuvant chemotherapy results in an improvement in both disease-free and overall survival and is routinely administered for women with early-stage breast cancer. However, treatment is associated with both acute and long-term complications for the breast cancer survivor. The number, nature, and costs of severe adverse effects experienced by women receiving adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer are relatively unknown, but may be more common than suspected from what has been reported from clinical trials.
This was illustrated in a series of 12,239 women aged 63 or younger with newly diagnosed breast cancer between 1998 and 2002, 4075 of whom were treated with adjuvant chemotherapy . Women who were treated with chemotherapy were significantly more likely to visit emergency rooms for all causes (61 versus 42 percent) and for serious adverse effects (16 versus 5 percent). For patients receiving chemotherapy, the major reasons prompting hospitalization or an emergency room visit during the year after their breast cancer diagnosis were:
●Fever or infection
●Neutropenia or thrombocytopenia
●Dehydration or electrolyte disorders
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- SPECIFIC ISSUES RELATED TO INDIVIDUAL AGENTS
- - Neurotoxicity
- - Pulmonary toxicity
- - Hepatotoxicity
- - Musculoskeletal side effects
- GENERAL ISSUES RELATED TO CHEMOTHERAPY
- - Neutropenia
- - Anemia
- Gastrointestinal side effects
- - Nausea and vomiting
- - Mucositis
- - Weight gain
- Dermatologic toxicity
- - Cutaneous side effects
- - Alopecia
- Sexual and reproductive side effects
- - Vasomotor symptoms
- - Chemotherapy-induced amenorrhea
- Risk factors
- Menopausal symptoms
- INFORMATION FOR PATIENTS