Nearly Half of Patients Treated for Breast Cancer Experience Potent Side Effects

Nearly Half of Patients Treated for Breast Cancer Experience Potent Side Effects
Almost half women with early stage, invasive breast cancer report severe or very severe side effects from their treatment, leading to more visits to doctors and emergency rooms as well as delays in treatment and reduced doses, research shows. This includes women who did not receive chemotherapy as part of their treatment plan. Nearly 30 percent of them experienced severe side effects. The study, “Treatment-Associated Toxicities Reported by Patients With Early-Stage Invasive Breast Cancer,” was published in the journal Cancer. The ratio of therapeutic effect, or benefits, over toxicity in cancer treatments is often small. Toxicities can lead to treatment discontinuation, use of costly health care services, and premature death. They can also place physical, emotional, and financial burdens on patients and families. That means doctors constantly weigh the anticipated benefits of anticancer treatments against the risks of treatment: toxicities, or adverse side effects. "It's in patients' best interest to receive their treatments on time and on schedule, whenever possible, to give them the best possible outcome. Unscheduled care for toxicities — including clinic visits, emergency department visits and hospital stays — are expensive, inconvenient and disruptive to both doctors and patients. We need to avoid them whenever possible," Steven J. Katz, MD, MPH, a professor of medicine and of health management and policy at the University of Michigan, said in a news release. Katz and his colleagues surveye
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