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Cancer Genetics

Chemotherapy and Cancer

04/18/2005

Question:

Do all cancer patients have to take chemotherapy?

Answer:

All people with cancer do not necessarily receive chemotherapy treatments.  In some instances the cancer may have been diagnosed at an early stage and clinical trials may have shown that use of chemotherapy does not have a significant impact on survival.  This can be interpreted in a number of ways: use of chemotherapy causes more problematic effects than benefits; chemotherapy shows no improvement in survival over those who do not receive chemotherapy; or no effective chemotherapy regimens have been found.  For questions about whether chemotherapy is relevant in a particular situation, one should always talk with an oncologist.  They have specialized training in the use of chemotherapy and in determining when it is most appropriately used.

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Response by:

Duane D Culler, PhD, MS Duane D Culler, PhD, MS
Clinical Instructor of Genetics
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University