Gallup Poll Shows Patients Concerned About Chemotherapy, But Also Want to Minimize Side-Effects

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A recent Gallup poll of some 1500 people with cancer found that all want the most effective treatment available, but don't want to suffer. The survey showed that cancer patients wanted their physicians to prescribe the most aggressive chemotherapy possible, but they also wanted to minimize the side effects of chemotherapy treatment. This is not surprising, since aggressive chemotherapy treatment has been successful in reducing or eliminating cancer, but many of its side-effects -- including nausea, vomiting, and hair loss -- are well known.

In the final analysis, the survey concluded, the priority for patients was treatment, not comfort. In fact, the survey found that almost half of respondents had their chemotherapy delayed or reduced because of side-effects, and that they were "very concerned" about the delay.

An unanticipated finding from the poll was that only half of all chemotherapy patients surveyed were aware that chemotherapy could seriously affect their immune system, and leave them vulnerable to serious infection. "This leads us to believe that we should be helping as much as possible to get patients to ask the right questions, and understand how treatment will affect them," commented Kimberly Calder, Cancer Care's Director of Public Policy. The Gallup poll was sponsored by Amgen, Inc., a pharmaceutical company located in Thousand Oaks, California.