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Adverse Effects And Costs Of Chemotherapy Greater Than Previously Thought

Date:
August 16, 2006
Source:
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Summary:
Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School have found that breast cancer patients 63 years of age or younger may experience more chemotherapy-related serious adverse effects than reported in clinical trials, according to a new study in the August 16 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
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Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School have found that breast cancer patients 63 years of age or younger may experience more chemotherapy-related serious adverse effects than reported in clinical trials, according to a new study in the August 16 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Led by Michael J. Hassett, MD, MPH, of Dana-Farber, researchers studied a database of medical claims made by women with newly diagnosed breast cancer who had employer-provided health insurance between January 1998 and December 2002.

"This is the first study, to our knowledge, of chemotherapy-related serious adverse effects in a population-based sample of younger women with breast cancer," said Hassett, who is also an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School. "We found that eight chemotherapy-related serious adverse effects may be more common than reported in large clinical trials, and, therefore, these adverse effects may be responsible for more patient suffering and higher health care expenditures than currently predicted."

Doctors often prescribe chemotherapy to eliminate residual cancer cells in women who have undergone surgery for breast cancer. Women who received chemotherapy were more likely to be hospitalized or visit emergency rooms for problems that are typically related to chemotherapy, including fever or infection, low white blood cell or platelet count, nausea, diarrhea, malnutrition, or dehydration.

Researchers studied 7,052 women from a database of claims made to health plans that contract with large employers in the U.S. The group was equally divided into two cohorts of 3,526: those who received chemotherapy within 12 months of their first breast cancer diagnosis, and those who did not.

In addition to more incidents of chemotherapy-related adverse effects, women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer also experienced increased healthcare costs: $1,271 more per year for hospitalizations and emergency room visits and $17,617 more per year for ambulatory care than women who did not receive chemotherapy.

Additional contributors of the report are from Dana-Farber and the Harvard School of Public Health.

The research was funded by grants from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the National Institutes of Health.


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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. "Adverse Effects And Costs Of Chemotherapy Greater Than Previously Thought." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 August 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060816012410.htm>.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. (2006, August 16). Adverse Effects And Costs Of Chemotherapy Greater Than Previously Thought. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060816012410.htm
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. "Adverse Effects And Costs Of Chemotherapy Greater Than Previously Thought." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060816012410.htm (accessed July 31, 2015).

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