Experts stress that information needs to be passed on after cancertreatment ends. By Amanda Gardner HealthDay Reporter WEDNESDAY, May 16 (HealthDay News) — Many primary care doctorsdon’t know the long-term side effects of the chemotherapytreatments that cancer survivors under their care may have beengiven, a new survey found. On the other hand, most oncologists — though not all — arefamiliar with the side effects of four common treatments used totreat breast and colon cancer, according to the results of thesurvey being presented at the upcoming annual meeting of theAmerican Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago. “While oncologists commonly identify the main late effects of fourcommon cancer drugs, primary care providers did not,” study authorDr.
Larissa Nekhlyudov said during a Wednesday news conference.”This is not surprising in that primary care providers havedifferent training and exposure to chemotherapy drugs,” she noted. “However, these findings emphasize that in the transition ofpatients from oncology to primary care settings, primary careproviders should be informed of late effects of cancer treatmentsso they are better prepared to recognize and address theseeffects,” added Nekhlyudov, who is an assistant professor ofpopulation medicine at Harvard Medical School. Advances in cancer treatment have pushed the number of cancersurvivors in the United States from 3 million in the 1970s to 12million today. Once cancer treatments — such as chemotherapy or radiation — arecomplete, primary care physicians become a critical part ofcontinuing care for cancer survivors.
The new findings are based on a 2009 survey of more than 1,100primary care doctors and more than 1,100 oncologists (doctors whospecialize in cancer) across the United States. Both types of doctors were asked to identify side effects of fourcommonly used chemotherapy drugs for breast and colon cancer:Adriamycin (doxorubicin); Eloxatin (oxaliplatin); Cytoxan(cyclophosphamide); and Taxol (paclitaxel). Fifty-five percent of primary care doctors identified heartproblems as a late-occurring effect of Adriamycin, while only 27percent and 22 percent identified peripheral neuropathy (nervedamage to the arms and legs) as a possible result of Taxol andEloxatin, respectively. Only 15 percent to 17 percent of primary care doctors knew thatearly menopause and second cancers could result from Cytoxan. Oncologists performed better on the survey, with 62 percent to 97percent aware of these late effects. Neodymium Rod Magnets
It was “surprising that oncologists were not more aware of lateeffects,” Nekhlyudov said. But she also pointed out that the areaof cancer survivorship is relatively new. “As more and more attention is placed on survivorship, oncologistswill become more equipped with that information,” she said. The findings highlight the need for more communication between thedifferent doctors involved in a patient’s care, one expertstressed. Neodymium Speaker Magnets Manufacturer
The burden of that communication lies not only with doctors(oncologists and primary care physicians) but also with patients,said Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox HillHospital in New York City. “This study just highlights the importance of communication oneveryone’s part, including the patient, including the doctors intrying to get that information across,” she added. “If anoncologist is discharging a patient, they should make it clear whatthey need to be looking for in the future and that they need toconvey this to their doctor.” The knowledge rates shown here make “a good case for electronicmedical records . China Neodymium Disk Magnet
. which would allow primary care providers toaccess patients’ cancer care,” said ASCO spokesman Dr. NicholasVogelzang. A second study being presented at the ASCO meeting in June foundthat the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa (olanzapine), used to treatschizophrenia and bipolar disorder, reduced post-chemotherapynausea and vomiting among patients who had not responded to othertherapies.
Eighty patients with chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting wererandomized to receive either Zyprexa or the heartburn drug Reglan(metoclopramide), often used to treat nausea and vomiting in cancerpatients. Over the next three days, 71 percent of patients taking Zyprexa didnot vomit, compared with 32 percent of patients receiving Reglan. About two-thirds of patients on Zyprexa experienced no nausea,compared with only one-quarter of Reglan patients, the study found. Zyprexa can cause side effects if used for six months or longer,but did not cause significant side effects for the short durationused in this study. Generally, those getting chemotherapy would notneed to take Zyprexa for longer than three days.
The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetingsshould be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewedjournal. More information The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more on chemotherapy. SOURCES: May 16, 2012 press conference with: Nicholas Vogelzang,M.D., ASCO spokesman, and Larissa Nekhlyudov, M.D., assistantprofessor, population medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston;Stephanie Bernik, M.D., chief, surgical oncology, Lenox HillHospital, New York City; study abstracts Copyright © 2012 HealthDay.
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