Survey Finds Many PCPs Don’t Know Long-Term Chemo Effects

Survey Finds Many PCPs Don't Know Long-Term Chemo EffectsMany primary care physicians are not aware of the long-term side effects of chemotherapy, even when the cancer treatment was advised by them, a new survey suggests.

According to HealthDay, the survey found that while PCPs were somewhat unknowing when it came to long-term chemo effects, most oncologists – though not 100 percent – have a strong grasp on the side effects linked to the four most common forms of breast and colon cancer treatment.

The results of the survey will be discussed at the upcoming meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago.

“While oncologists commonly identify the main late effects of four common cancer drugs, primary care providers did not,” said study author Dr. Larissa Nekhlyudov at a recent news conference. “This is not surprising in that primary care providers have different training and exposure to chemotherapy drugs.”

Nekhlyudov added that the findings underscore the need for PCPs to fully understand the side effects of chemotherapy as their patients leave the control of an oncologist and return to a primary care setting.

“Primary care providers should be informed of late effects of cancer treatments so they are better prepared to recognize and address these effects,” added Nekhlyudov.

In the study, researchers asked both PCPs and oncologists to identify side effects commonly noted after breast and colon cancer. Among primary care doctors, 55 percent identified late-occurring effects of Adriamycin, one cancer treatment, while only 27 percent identified leg nerve damage as a potential result of Taxol, another common chemotherapy.

According to the National Cancer Institute, several forms of chemotherapy have been developed, which can result in widely varying side effects. During chemotherapy, patients should submit to blood tests regularly to better monitor the treatment.