Cancer
Medication and Drugs
Chemotherapy

How many people die each year from chemotherapy?

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03/13/2013

People die from chemotherapy because it is extremely toxic and ineffective. Most people die from chemotherapy rather than the cancer itself. I do not know the actual number but i have researched something around 75% of people who go through with chemo die from it directly from heart failure and or liver failure or other side effects.

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Chemotherapy's success record is dismal. It can achieve remissions in about 7% of all human cancers; for an additional 15% of cases, survival can be "prolonged" beyond the point at which death would be expected without treatment. This type of survival is not the same as a cure or even restored quality of life.

"Most cancer patients in this country die of chemotherapy...Chemotherapy does not eliminate breast, colon or lung cancers. This fact has been documented for over a decade. Yet doctors still use chemotherapy for these tumours...Women with breast cancer are likely to die faster with chemo than without it.

i don't know when these answers were posted but it seems to me that they must have been posted a few years ago.

in 9/2008 i was treated for anal cancer with intensive chemotherapy and radiation and when a cat scan was performed in 12/2008 the stage 3 tumor along with the two involved nodes were cancer free. and i remain cancer free to date.-doreen montgomery, human

Another answer

Dr John Diamond may be correct as may be Dr Alan Levin, in a lot of the research I did in their past 5 to 6 months I was shocked to find that there may be a death sentence waiting if you do not get Chemo or Radio therapy but if these do not work than you will either die from complications or related symptoms. Up to 80% of cancer patients are reported to have died from complications from, treatment and side effects or related symptoms. Not from cancer itself. I have read that a survey of Canadian Doctors asking them if they would have Chemo has returned a 70% "No"answer. There are a lot of chemo treatments and some are being used in two or three combinations. The chemicals seem to be very toxic as staff panic if there is a spill. My father has just had 3 months of chemo and due to his re-occuring colorectal cancer, age and medical stuff ups, bleeding ( aneimic), Wrong medications and side effects froim treatments and medications. August 2009 a standard prostate check has left him with a torn intestine at the joint where previous surgery for cancer in 2005 had him stitched up after Radiotherapy and Chemo therapy and surgery to cut out a part of his bowel and re connect it. He had no problems until August and this was a five minute physical exam. Unfortunately his rectum area was bleeding and he could not control it. The doctors did not want to fix it with surgery or stitching it up. His rectum area got infected, despite months of going to Doctors they only offered antibiotics and suppositories. He decided to try cleaning the area out with salt water baths and other methods. But he still had a lot of pain. November 2009 he was a lot worse. December 2009 xMas he got a sudden temperature and I had to rush him to a local SW Sydney Hospital. After a long wait he was in extreme pain and his temperature was 39. He was seen by a doctor and she advised that he has an bladder infection. That may have spread to his kidney. And it was serious. They will use a strong anti biotic that will remain in his body and he may become VRE resistant as this occurs in a small percentage of patients. He was released after a few days and his temperature and condition had improved. But he was still bleeding from his rectal area and on December 30th 2009 a sudden temperature spike and infection set in I had him back in hospital for the new years celebration and this time he had a sore kidney.

But now he is checked in just about every way there is and in 18 days had only 1 meal. I got very upset as I knew the problem was stemming from hois rectal area but the Doctors had to give him Xrays, CT scans, Pet scans and MIR. Including a colonoscopy. The first one failed due to the tube being too large and faulty. As they were pushing it in they tore him more. They said that he was infected and due to this they could not complete the colonoscopy. You must have a prostate problem I heard the doctor say. My father answered I had a regular check up and the reason I am bleeding and infected is because DR ________ examined me in August and had problems finding my prostate so he applied too much finger pressure to the side of my bum and hurt me. I got uptight and had a word with the Doctor. At this stage I felt like suing the hospital and getting my father out of there. I advised the Doctor to stop treating the symptoms and start treating the whole I was advised that his infection is probably causing pressure on his inner tubes preventing him fro going to the toilet for urinating and he can not empty his bladder. Within a few hours they came back and came to the conclusion that bladder was not being emptied due to an obstruction of the urinary tract and an infection. In turn this was now causing his left kidney to fail and they performed a surgery inserting an stem into his kidney. They said that his prostate was OK and they did a colonoscopy everything looked fine. How ever they wanted to do another scan. Finally mid January he is advised that there was a small cancerous lesion or growth on the out side of his large intestineor bowel. Since then he has has an stem in his right kidney. An SPC and Catheder, Infections and continuous bleeding and a tumor on his stomach after his SPC was changed and he got infected. Then he is told he has VRE as well. In short: he has days of life left and the Doctors now are trying to make him comfortable as they have given up. Chemo was his hope. He could not get radio as they over radiated him last time in 2005. This has more than likely contributed to his current state. Bones not producing enough blood to make up for the shortage. Multiple PE or blood clots in the lungs. Chemo was to hard and last week he almost died he had a minor stroke. In his state he was prescribed clexine. for blood thining. This had his potasium level up to 7 where the blood potasium should be 1. The cancer had spread. The Emergency Dr advised me he may have a feww months but his kidneys are failing now. Cancer has spread into his bones. And his immune system is totally shot. No apetite, has problems speaking and drinking and has been taken of the IV or drip.His chemo doctors had at no stage warned him that the chances this would work are slim. Now I am told by the honest one that Chemo often does not work and it depends on the circumstances of the patient. The other Doctor/s went into damage recovery mode while offering palantive care options. At no stage were we given the stage of the cancer by the chemo Doctors. Our family doctor advised it was stage 3 about two months ago. With Chemo and radio your chances are estimated at 50% to perhaps 60% depending on the cancer and patient. These treatments often extend your life but they are not cures. As per one Doctors comment "we gave him extra time" .

From my research I found that Radio therapy may have 40% or above chance of shrinking tumors or cancer. Depending on when it is discovered. If you are lucky and change your life style and diet you may not get a re occurence. But here are some tips. Try alternate treatments. I now regret that I let my father whom had the utmost faith and trust in the Doctors and kept telling me not no question them or argue with them in our meetings have it his way.He did read and I showed him some information but he dispelled it. The cancer industry is a business. Search the web and get the facts and for gods sake as well as your own get a Doctor that is willing to be honest and break away from the system. At least you may get a better chance for survival.No guarantees but with Cancer you have to be in control and be advised. Please scrutinies their decisions and research the medications and conditions you have. Ask questions and if they block you out or do not want to spend time explaining find another Doctor whom will. After all this is you life. If caring for someone as I was try to guide them into the right direction. I failed but now my father realized it. Too Late. Alkalize you system. Have PH tests, use any known way of keeping your immune system as strong as possible. Make sure your blood has enough oxygen, and a good balance of minerals. Dads Magnesium level fell a lot lower on several occasions. Eat fresh Veggies and fruit. Minimize and cut out your intake of sugar as processed sugar and certain sugars are cancer food. Cancer likes acidic systems and thrives in them. These facts were known since 1931. For those whom have survived and are doing well. Keep the above in mind as Cancer is a clever cell and just because you have gone into remission does not mean you are out of the woods. I have my father as proof and my mother has had breast cancer. She now has cancer of their uterus. The probable ca=use as it was described to us and in a Dr briefing was Tamifoxin use for prevention of breast cancer.This increases your chances of getting cancer of the uterus. Take care and good luck.

Another answer

There are many untrue statements in all the paragraphs above and I would like to clarify some of them.

A quick note: Blood potassium should be between about 3.7 and 5.2, not 1.

Now, as a physician assistant who works with cancer patients and manages their chemo, let me say that depending on the cancer, chemo can save lives. It can cure. Now that said, cancer is unbelievably tough. It is smart and can even outsmart our best attempts at chemotherapy. Tumor cells learn how to "work around" the chemo, outsmart it even. Every cancer is different and so is their reaction to chemotherapy.

80% of patients do not die due to chemotherapy. That is absurd. We would not give treatment to patients knowing that 8 out of 10 of them will not return for their follow-up visit. Some die because we lose the battle fighting the tumor cells and the cancer takes over the other organs (metastatic disease). This ends with the patient passing away. Some die due to complications from other diseases that they already had prior to cancer diagnosis (diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, etc).

Regardless, it is important to remember that the purpose of chemo is not always to cure a patient. In fact, in most cases, we only attempt to get the patient into remission, knowing we will battle the cancer again down the road. Sometimes chemo is used for palliative purpose, meaning to help with pain caused by the cancer or tumor. An example would be a bladder cancer patient with a large tumor that compresses on the spine causing pain. We may give chemo to shrink (not completely destroy) the tumor to provide that patient pain relief. We know we cannot kill the tumor, but if we can shrink it and relieve the pain, why not?

It is also a known fact that patients who battle and survive one type of cancer are automatically at risk for developing a related cancer down the road. An example we commonly see is a prostate patient who later develops bladder or renal cancer.

Please also understand that when you throw radiation therapy into the treatment, you are playing a whole different ball game. Radiation therapy is like chemo. Sometimes it cures, sometimes, it is palliative. The lasting effects are sometimes much more harsh.

Regardless, I promise as a physician assistant who sees, evaluates, treats and loses cancer patients, I will never give up. We must support research as much as possible. Without it, we will never find a true cure. I too have lost loved ones and friends to cancer and I will never give up fighting, never give up hope.