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Learning about Side Effects

Some notes on side effects of cancer treatments.

We’ve received a few comments and questions regarding treatments and their side effects. As a small Charity our role is not to give medical advice. We would always encourage people to discuss their concerns with the team involved in developing their treatment plan. 

If you feel you want to learn more about treatment options or possible side effects we would again encourage people to talk to the medical team. If after that you want to do more research by searching online only use reputable sites. 

Macmillan.org.uk have a lot of very relevant information on their website about treatments and commonly used drugs: 

https://www.macmillan.org.uk/cancer-information-and-support/treatments-and-drugs.

One of our members has been researching into Cisplatin one of the drugs that was used in her initial treatment. You can see the possible side effects here: 

https://www.macmillan.org.uk/cancer-information-and-support/treatments-and-drugs/cisplatin

They have found that there has been further research into why the drug has affected hearing which has helped them understand the impact on their hearing. 

You can read more here: 

Cancer Drug May Cause Lasting Hearing Loss 

A study carried out by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the United States could explain why many patients treated with the chemotherapy drug cisplastin develop long-term hearing loss. 

Researchers found that in both mice and humans cisplastin can be found in the cochlea (the part of the ear that enables hearing) months -or even years – after treatment. 

The study, lead by researchers from the US National Institute of Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), was published on November 21, 2017 in the journal: Nature Communications. 

According to the researchers, cisplatin, a platinum-based chemo drug, is commonly used for the treatment of many cancers. But they maintain that this drug, along with other platinum-based drugs, can damage the cochlea, leaving between 40%-80% of adults – and around 50% of children – with significant, permanent hearing loss. 

Dr Percy Ivy, associate chief of the NCI’s Investigative Drug Branch, was not involved in the study. But he commented: “This study starts to explain why patients who receive cisplatin sustain hearing loss.” 

He added: This is very important, because as we come to understand how cisplatin-related hearing loss occurs, over time we may figure out a way to block it, or at least diminish its effects.” 

One of the study’s investigators, Andrew Breglio of the NIDCD, said: “The new study differs from previous research because it takes a comprehensive look at the pharmacokinectics – or concentration – of the drug in the inner ear.” 

Dr Ivy stated that hearing loss from cisplatin  “is not a static injury – it doesn’t stay the same. It can progress over time and it can occur late. That suggests that a long-term cancer survivor needs on-going monitoring of their hearing.” 

Dr Lisa Cunningham, from the NIDCD, who lead the research team, stated: “Cisplatin is one of the most widely used anticancer drugs on the planet – and it’s saving a lot of lives.” 

She added: “But the hearing loss is permanent. So these patients are surviving and they will have hearing loss for the rest of their lives.” 

She stressed: “What we would like to be able to do is to develop a therapy that will allow patients to take the life-saving drug – but preserve their hearing.” 

*More information about this study from the US National Institute on Deafness and other Communications Disorders.