How effective is chemotherapy

Posted by Ed 17 days ago
not very
Chemotherapy is debilitating and expensive. It can cause heart failure and irreversible damage to nerves and the lining of the gut. 20% of cancer related deaths following cancer therapy may be hastened or caused by the toxic effects of the chemotherapy itself and not by the cancer:-

Mortality within 30 days of receiving systemic anti-cancer therapy at a regional oncology unit: what have we learned?

‘378 patients who received cytotoxic chemotherapy and targeted therapy. In total 13 deaths (3.4%) occurred within 30 days following SACT. Three deaths (23%) were definitely treatment-related - neutropenic sepsis, pneumocystis pneumonia and bowel perforation.’

To put up with this risk and toxicity how effective is it?

Only a small minority drugs approved by the FDA and EMA show evidence that improvements in surrogate markers, such as tumour shrinkage, are correlated with improvements in survival:- 

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