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A 58-year-old female asked:

Should i take a full strength of chemo. when only 1/3 of the strength causes bad chest pain i have only about 15% of my heart and 20% of my kidney. i have lung cancer, the no cell cancer, with each treatment it has affected my heart. but if i don't take t

2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ariel Lopez-chavez
Medical Oncology 20 years experience
This : This is certainly a difficult situation. One of the most important thing to do when giving chemotherapy to a patient is safety. If you have heart and kidney problems and are also having bad chest pains when you get chemotherapy it may not be safe to continue to get the same full dose of chemotherapy. Furthermore, it may not be safe to keep giving you the same chemotherapy at all. Many times we are able to reduce the dose of chemotherapy without having an impact on how effective it is. Even if the chemotherapy has to be stopped and the cancer eventually grows back again, that is actually better than dying from a bad side effect from chemotherapy. Chemotherapy can be very dangerous in patients that are not fit enough to get it or in patients whose heart, kidneys, liver or bone marrows are not working well. In these cases it is better to stop or reduce the dose rather than giving full doses and harm the patient. You should talk to your doctor and express your concerns and symptoms. Together, you should be able to find a treatment that gets you the most benefit and the least side effects. Best regards, ariel.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Loki Skylizard
Thoracic Surgery 21 years experience
It's a choice: Nobody can make this decision for you. It is important that you have an honest and open discussion with your cancer team. You will need to ask what are the reasonable expectations from treatment vs non-treatment? Ultimately, the question only you can answer, after thorough discussion with your team, "will treatment be worse then cancer? What quality of life can i expect after treatment?".
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Last updated Nov 23, 2019

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