Primary Care Docs Don't Know Chemo Side Effects, Says Survey

Results of a new survey presented in advance of the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting suggests that most primary care doctors are ignorant about the long-term dangers and side-effects of chemotherapy.

Dr. Larissa Nekhlyudov of Harvard Medical School and colleagues conducted a survey of 1,072 primary care doctors and 1,130 cancer specialists by mail, asking them which of five side effects they had seen most frequently in their practices or seen reported for each of four widely used chemotherapy drugs:

- Doxorubicin
- Paclitaxel
- Oxaliplatin
- Cyclophosphamide.

What they found was that just six percent of primary care physicians knew the main long term side effects of all four of the drugs, versus sixty-five percent of oncologists.

While primary care doctors may not be expected to know the main side effects of chemotherapy, the problem is that 12 million US cancer survivors are receiving follow-up care from these primary care doctors, and they could be missing the nerve damage or the cardiovascular or pulmonary problems, or even secondary cancers, associated with chemotherapy.

Source: ASCO

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