Study Shows Half of Cancer Patients Are Killed by Chemo. No matter how much doctors push the treatment, chemotherapy might not be the best option in the fight against cancer. A new study shows up to 50% of patients are killed by the drugs – not the disease itself. Researchers from Public Health England and Cancer Research UK performed a groundbreaking study. They examined for the first time the number of cancer patients who died within 30 days of beginning chemotherapy. The results indicated the treatment, not the cancer, was the cause of death.
Looking at those death rates in hospitals across the UK, researchers found an alarming mortality rate associated with chemotherapy. Across “England around 8.4% of patients with lung cancer, and 2.4% of breast cancer patients died within a month,” the Telegraph reported.
“But in some hospitals the figure was far higher. In Milton Keynes the death rate from lung cancer treatment and 50.9%, although it was based on a very small number of patients.”
Alarmingly, the one month mortality rate at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals for those undergoing palliative, rather than curative, chemotherapy for lung cancer was a full 28%. One in five breast cancer patients receiving palliative care at Cambridge University hospitals died from treatment.
In certain areas, deaths of lung cancer patients by chemotherapy were far higher than the national average
Dr. Jem Rashbass, Cancer Lead for Public Health England, “Chemotherapy is a vital part of cancer treatment. It is a large reason behind the improved survival rates over the last four decades. However, it is powerful medication with significant side effects. Often getting the balance right on which patients to treat aggressively can be hard. Those hospitals whose death rates are outside the expected range have had the findings shared with them. We have asked them to review their practice and data.”
For the analysis, researchers “included all women with breast cancer and all men and women with lung cancer. They resided in England, and were 24 years or older and who had started a cycle” of chemotherapy in 2014.
Long the mainstay for treating various cancers, chemotherapy has finally drawn criticism in recent years.
It has shown that the medicine does not differentiate between healthy and cancerous cells. Now, this study shows how that powerful cell destroying property can mean the demise for patients as well. Researchers have advised physicians to exercise more caution in vetting which patient should ideally receive chemotherapy. Older and more infirm patients, in particular, may be better off without receiving palliative care. Palliative care is designed to offer relief instead of curing the disease.
“The statistics don’t suggest bad practice overall but there are some outliners,” noted Professor David Dodwell of the Institute of Oncology at St. James Hospital in Leeds. “It could be data problems, and figures skewed because of just a few deaths, but nevertheless it could also be down to problems with clinical practice. I think it’s important to make patients aware that there are potentially life-threatening downsides to chemotherapy. And doctors should be more careful about who they treat with chemotherapy.”
All hospitals involves said they reviewed the information and remain certain chemotherapy is safe. With the caveats patient selection for the treatment may need to be more discretionary.
Prof. David Cameron of the Edinburgh Cancer Centre at West General Hospital noted, “The concern is that with some of the patients dying within 30 days of being given chemo probably should not have been getting chemo. But how many? There is no easy way to answer that, but perhaps looking at these places and hospitals where the death rate was higher may help. Furthermore, if we give less chemo than some patients will die because they didn’t get chemo. It’s a fine balance and the more data we have the better we can be at making sure we get the balance right.”
Meanwhile, doctors in the United States should probably take note. Considering the sheer number of patients forced to undergo chemotherapy at the states behest despite objections from those patients and their families.
17-year-old diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma decided to seek alternatives to chemotherapy
In one example, a 17-year-old diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma decided to seek alternatives to chemotherapy. Her doctors contacted family services, then kidnapped the young adult and placed her in foster care. She was finally allowed to return home when she agreed to undergo the often debilitating treatment. However, she ran away once doctors informed her she’d have to endure surgery for the implantation of a chemo port. In an incredible act of Orwellian Big Government, the Supreme Court ruled the state was in the right in this case. She was denied contact with her own family after being kidnapped and forced into treatment against her will.
As un as unfathomably invasive as that was, it is not isolated. Alternative treatments do, in fact, exist. The most promising among them for many cancers are various forms of CBD oil, a cannabis derivative. But, thanks to the phenomenally failed war on drugs, cancer patients in most areas of the US are unable to procure much-needed medicine. Patients are often forced to receive treatment on the sly. Patients risks time behind bars simply for wanting to cure themselves.