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mesothelioma chemotherapy

Anemia from Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy can reduce the bone marrow's ability to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen to all parts of your body. When there are too few red blood cells, body tissues do not get enough oxygen to do their work. This condition is called anemia. Anemia can make you feel short of breath, very weak, and tired. Symptoms include:

  • Fatigue (feeling very weak and tired).
  • Dizziness or feeling faint.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Feeling as if your heart is "pounding" or beating very fast.

Your doctor will check your blood cell count often during your treatment. She or he may also prescribe a medicine that can boost the growth of your red blood cells. Discuss this with your doctor if you become anemic often. If your red count falls too low, you may need a blood transfusion or a medicine called erythropoietin to raise the number of red blood cells in your body.

Things you can do if you are anemic (See the section "Fatigue")

  • Get plenty of rest. Sleep more at night and take naps during the day if you can.
  • Limit your activities. Do only the things that are essential or most important to you.
  • Ask for help when you need it. Ask family and friends to pitch in with things like child care, shopping, housework, or driving.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet.
  • When sitting, get up slowly. When lying down, sit first and then stand. This will help prevent dizziness.

Central Nervous System Problems

Chemotherapy can interfere with certain functions in your central nervous system (brain) causing tiredness, confusion, and depression. These feelings will go away once the chemotherapy dose is lowered or you finish chemotherapy. Call your doctor if these symptoms occur.

Infection

Chemotherapy can make you more likely to get infections. This happens because most anticancer drugs affect the bone marrow, making it harder to make white blood cells, the cells that fight many types of infections. Your doctor will check your blood cell count often while you are getting chemotherapy. There are medicines that help speed the recovery of white blood cells, shortening the time when the white blood count is very low. These medicines are called colony stimulating factors. Raising the white blood cell count greatly lowers the risk of serious infection.

Most infections come from bacteria normally found on your skin and in your mouth, intestines and genital tract. Sometimes, the cause of an infection may not be known. Even if you take extra care, you still may get an infection. But there are some things you can do.

How can I help prevent infections?

  • Wash your hands often during the day. Be sure to wash them before you eat, after you use the bathroom, and after touching animals.
  • Clean your rectal area gently but thoroughly after each bowel movement. Ask your doctor or nurse for advice if the area becomes irritated or if you have hemorrhoids. Also, check with your doctor before using enemas or suppositories.
  • Stay away from people who have illnesses you can catch, such as a cold, the flu, measles, or chicken pox.
  • Try to avoid crowds. For example, go shopping or to the movies when the stores or theaters are least likely to be busy.
  • Stay away from children who recently have received "live virus" vaccines such as chicken pox and oral polio, since they may be contagious to people with a low blood cell count. Call your doctor or local health department if you have any questions.
  • Do not cut or tear the cuticles of your nails.
  • Be careful not to cut or nick yourself when using scissors, needles, or knives.
  • Maintain good mouth care.
  • Do not squeeze or scratch pimples.
  • Take a warm (not hot) bath, shower, or sponge bath every day. Pat your skin dry using a light touch. Do not rub too hard.
  • Use lotion or oil to soften and heal your skin if it becomes dry and cracked.
  • Clean cuts and scrapes right away and daily until healed with warm water, soap, and an antiseptic.
  • Avoid contact with animal litter boxes and waste, bird cages, and fish tanks.
  • Avoid standing water, for example, bird baths, flower vases, or humidifiers.
  • Wear protective gloves when gardening or cleaning up after others, especially small children.
  • Do not get any immunizations, such as flu or pneumonia shots, without checking with your doctor first.
  • Do not eat raw fish, seafood, meat, or eggs.
  • Use an electric shaver instead of a razor to prevent breaks or cuts in your skin.

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This website is sponsored by Brad Cooper* of The Cooper, Hart, Leggiero, & Whitehead, PLLC. Cooper, Hart, Leggiero, & Whitehead is located in The Woodlands, Texas (Greater Houston Area) and can be reached toll free at 1-800-998-9729 for more information on mesothelioma. Brad Cooper is not a medical doctor. The information on these pages is for the education of mesothelioma patients and their families regarding potential medical and legal options. Patients are advised to consult with a medical doctor.

*  Licensed by the Supreme Court  of Texas.

 

 

 

The use of chemotherapy in patients with advanced malignant pleural mesothelioma: a clinical practice guideline.

Advances in the systemic therapy of malignant pleural mesothelioma

Kinase Inhibitors for Mesothelioma Treatment

journal abstracts

Active symptom control with or without chemotherapy in the treatment of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MS01): a multicentre randomised trial

The second wave in kinase cancer drugs

Cisplatin and vinorelbine first-line chemotherapy in non-resectable malignant pleural mesothelioma


Cytoreductive surgery and intraperitoneal chemotherapy for peritoneal mesothelioma.