It’s not bad enough that being overweight sets you up for health problems that range from diabetes to heart disease. Now it appears that oncologists have been giving obese patients less chemo than they need out of fear and a misunderstanding of dosing requirements. “By minimizing the dose, or capping the dose, we have been undertreating patients,” said Gary Lyman, a Duke University oncologist.
Lyman led a study that looked at mortality rates among obese cancer patients and at their treatment. Basically, doctors should determine chemo dosage based on a person’s physical size, but many doctors were afraid that such higher dosages would be dangerous to their heavier patients. Ironically, heavier people handle chemo better than lighter people, on average, and flush the chemicals out of their systems more quickly too. Certainly, there are cases when doctors are concerned about dosages due to other medical issues, but Lyman and his researchers found that new guidelines were needed in that some 60 percent of Americans are now considered overweight and more than a third of them are noted to be obese.
The new guidelines have now been issued and one hopes that in the future heavier people with cancer will begin to see their treatment effectiveness improve.
To read the complete story, please click here.
Image courtesy of cancer.about.com .