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Cancer survivors have lasting adverse effects.

HOUSTON -- Cancer survivors often have fatigue, memory problems, and other side effects for many months after treatment, Pascal Jean-Pierre, Ph.D., reported at the annual meeting of the American Society of Preventive Oncology.

"We have known cancer survivors suffer side effects, especially those treated with chemotherapy and/or radiation, but we didn't know these side effects lasted so long after treatment," Dr. Jean-Pierre of the University of Rochester (N.Y.), said in an interview.

He and his colleagues assessed side effects in 596 cancer survivors who were treated with chemotherapy and/or radiation for various malignancies (hematologic, head and neck, lung, alimentary, genitourinary, gynecologic, and breast). The mean age was 61 years, and 398 of the participants were female.

Symptom severity was assessed on an 11-point Likert scale (with 0 = "not present" and 10 = "as bad as you can imagine") for pain, fatigue, nausea, sleep problems, shortness of breath, depression, memory problems, concentration problems, weight loss, hair loss, hot flashes, and skin problems.

The mean number of side effects was 4.6 prior to treatment, 7.9 during treatment, and 5.3 at 6 months after treatment. Despite the decline in the number of side effects after treatment, it remained significantly higher than at baseline, Dr. Jean-Pierre reported.

The highest number of side effects was in survivors with hematologic, head and neck, lung, alimentary, gynecologic, and breast cancers. Survivors of genitourinary cancer reported the lowest number of side effects. Younger patients and female cancer survivors treated with chemotherapy or a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy had more side effects than other patients, he reported.
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Title Annotation:Across Specialties
Author:Bullock, Carole
Publication:Clinical Psychiatry News
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2007
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