The Wrong Dose of Chemo
Wow! This article made my head spin. According to Reuters, children with cancer often receive the wrong dosage of chemotherapy and these errors can lead to the need for additional treatment—because that’s actually what someone with cancer wants, more invasive treatment! Unreal. Julie Steenhuysen reports:
The problem has a lot to do with lack of common standards for delivering these life-saving, but highly toxic, drugs, said Dr. Marlene Miller, director of quality and safety at Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore.If you ask me, it makes me wonder if chemotherapy is even an option worth pursuing. Is chemotherapy really all its cracked up to me? Dr. Fuhrman talks about it in Diet, Chemotherapy, and the Truth: How to Win the War on Cancer:
Miller and colleagues evaluated data on medication errors collected in a national database from 1999 to 2004.
They looked at a total of 829,492 errors reported in 29,802 patients.
Of the errors, 310 involved kids on chemotherapy. Of those mistakes, 85 percent reached the patient, and nearly 16 percent of those were serious enough to require additional care.
Miller likens the problem to the issues most parents face when trying to figure out how much of the analgesic ibuprofen to give a child because the dose must be calculated based on weight and age.
Our technologically-advanced society is suffering from the highest rates of cancer ever seen in human history, rates that are also much higher than in less developed parts of the world. Since 1999, cancer has surpassed heart disease and has become the leading cause of age adjusted mortality for Americans younger than 85. Despite more than a hundred billion dollars in cancer research-- invested largely in the development of drug chemotherapy and screening and detection techniques--we have lost the war on cancer. While there has been a slight reduction of cancer-related deaths in the last 25 years, this is largely the result of the decrease in lung cancer deaths that has resulted from a reduction in cigarette smoking during this timeframe. Mortality rates for most cancers have stayed remarkably steady.Here are a few more posts of note:
Chemotherapy has contributed to the progress made against cancer deaths from fast-growing cancers, such as leukemia, lymphoma, testicular cancer, and childhood cancers such as osteogenic sarcoma. But for the major cancers affecting most adult Americans, chemotherapy adds less than one year of disease-free life to those treated.
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