Understanding Lung Cancer Chemo
Chemotherapy drugs are a leading treatment option for many types of cancer. Options for lung cancer chemo include combination’s of drugs as well as combining chemotherapy with radiation therapy. Negative side effects result from the high toxicity levels of this treatment.
Drug pairings for treating small-cell and non small-cell carcinoma in the lungs generally include two medications or more. Studies from the National Cancer Institute and other organizations have demonstrated better results using this multiple medication approach. Chemo medication pairs include Cisplatin with ‘vinorelbine tartrate’ or ‘VP-16’, and Paclitaxel with carboplatin.
Cisplatin or VP-16 are also used in conjunction with radiotherapy, and new combination’s are being tested in clinical trials. According to ‘Health Communities’ a chemo treatment regimen includes drug prescriptions to treat debilitating side effects. For example, the symptoms of anemia, which can cause a lack of energy and dizziness, are often treated with ‘Epoetin alfa.’
Fighting Side Effects
Nausea, vomiting, and general sickness from chemotherapy can be worked through, according to Christy Russell, MD of the American Cancer Society. Some drugs do not cause these negative reactions, and patients can take anti-nausea medications in anticipation of a problem. Eating a plain diet of smaller meals may help with chemo-related nausea as well.
Patients averse to taking additional medications for chemo sickness can consider acupuncture, hypnosis or other holistic healing methods, says Carmen Escalante, MD. She adds that herbal supplements may make the condition worse. Ensure there is no conflict with the chemotherapy treatment by checking with your doctor before taking one.
Problems persisting despite anti-nausea measures should be addressed with a doctor. Solutions may include switching to another chemo drug or reducing the dosage. Escalante warns that uncontrolled vomiting is an emergency that needs to be addressed immediately. Excessive vomiting can lead to kidney malfunction and dangerous dehydration.
New treatments for chemotherapy are currently being tested. A clinical trial using a drug called ‘vadimezan’ might be available by 2012. The protocol includes the addition of ‘vadimezan’ to a traditional chemo prescription. The drug helps prevent blood flow to tumors, and was successful in improving survival rates, according to Mark McKeage, PhD at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.