Saturday, February 17, 2024

Side Effects Of Red Devil Chemo

What Are The Potential Side Effects

Chemo side effect (Red Devil)

Chemotherapy drugs attack cancer cells. They can also damage healthy cells in the process. Thats why there are so many potential side effects. Its unlikely youll have all of them.

Chemotherapy affects everyone differently. Side effects may change the longer youre on these drugs, but theyre usually temporary. Your healthcare team can provide information on how to deal with them.

The most common side effects are:

  • irritation around the intravenous or port site
  • red or pink urine for a few days due to doxorubicin
  • appetite changes

Less common side effects may include:

  • a skin rash due to an allergic reaction
  • burning or painful urination
  • changes to fingernails and toenails
  • changes to heart muscles

Rare side effects include changes to lung tissue and developing another type of cancer in the future.

Early Stage Or Locally Advanced Breast Cancer

Doctors usually offer chemotherapy to treat early stage breast cancer with a high risk of recurrence or locally advanced breast cancer. Chemotherapy for these stages of breast cancer is generally given as a combination of several drugs because research shows that giving them together is more effective than giving each drug alone.

The following combinations of drugs may be offered. Most of these drugs are given by a needle in a vein :

  • AC-T doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide followed by paclitaxel

What Does The Red Devil Chemo Treatment Do

Doxorubicin is a cytotoxic chemotherapy drug and an antitumor antibiotic in the anthracycline group. This drug is produced for the treatment of a multitude of cancers, including breast and ovarian, leukemia, Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Wilms tumor, neuoroblastoma, and sarcoma. However, it is most commonly used to treat patients with breast cancer.So lets start with the most talked about and memorable characteristic of this drugits color. Doxorubicin is bright redlike very red. Like, any moment the red Kool-aid man will jump through the wall screaming, Oh Yeah! It is because of its bright red color that the drug was rightfully nicknamed, the red devil.

Imagine, you are sitting in a chemo chair and the nurse brings in a giant syringe full of bright red liquid. It is enough to make anyone freak out! Not only is it brought to you in a large syringe, it must be pressed through manually, incredibly slow so as not to cause extravasation. Due to this, most cancer patients opt for a port-a-cath to minimize the risk.

Another reason for its nasty reputation is that it causes horrific side effects. Common side effects include nausea and vomiting, low blood counts, loss of appetite, weight changes, mouth sores, and alopecia . Even though it is not common, doxorubicin, epirubicin, and some other chemotherapy drugs can cause permanent heart damage . The risk is highest if the drug is used for a long time or in high doses.

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Kidney And Bladder Effects

Certain chemotherapy medications, such as cisplatin, can cause damage to the kidneys and bladder. This can result in a decreased ability of your kidneys to filter your blood.

Damage to the bladder can also occur and may be temporary or permanent. Symptoms of bladder irritation may include pain or urgency with urination, or blood in your urine.

Cancer Treatment Options: Angelas Chemotherapy Story

Chemo: Chemo Red Devil

6 min read

After she noticed a lump in her left breast in 2018, Angela Huhman was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her first challenge was learning to make her cancer care a priority.

After receiving my confirmed diagnosis, I tried to fit cancer into my already established life without giving anything up, Angela said. I was treating my cancer like it was a project, but its not. I had to learn how to be a better cancer patient by prioritizing my cancer and provider appointments and making adjustments in my life.

To do this, Angela sat down with a Missouri Cancer Associates physician who is affiliated with The US Oncology Network . RMCC is also a part of USON, which helps comprehensive cancer centers maintain their independence and prosper in todays evolving healthcare landscape. Together, Angela and her physicians discussed her cancer treatment options, how to prepare for chemo, and stay committed to her treatment plans.

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Adriamycin And Cytoxan: Rounds 2

The first round of AC chemo was the worst for me. Once the nurse changed my nausea medicine, I didnt get sick to my stomach any more. I did get sleepier DURING the chemo sessions though and just kind of laid there with the TV on.

Looking at my phone or a magazine made me feel nauseouskind of like reading in the car. I also didnt really want food while I was there. If I did eat, it had to be something bland like french fries or crackers, but that was about it.

After each session, I continued to mostly sleep for the first 5-7 days. I also never really remembered this first week after an infusion.

I watched TV shows and had conversations with people that I would have absolutely no recollection of the next day. A lot of that may have been due to the nausea medicine I was taking and not the actual chemo though.

Why Is It Called Red Devil Chemo

Doxorubicin, commonly known as the Red Devil Chemo drug is used in the treatment of many different cancers. Its important to recognize particularly in Breast cancer it is highly effective.

It gets the name Red Devil Chemo because of the appearance of the bag.

It works by poisoning the DNA in our cells, particularly the cancer DNA and causing them to die. It can be administered weekly or every 3 weeks.

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Want To Learn More About Chemotherapy

Attend the ONS/ONCC Chemotherapy Biotherapy Certificate Course today!

A serious but uncommon side effect of doxorubicin can be irreversible heart damage. This includes arrhythmias, EKG changes, angina, myocardial infarction, and cardiomyopathy, which manifests as a reduction in left ventricular ejection fraction and/or symptoms of congestive heart failure. Because of the potential of cardiotoxicity, you can receive only up to a certain amount of doxorubicin during your lifetime. The lifetime maximum dose may be lower if you have heart disease risk factors such as radiation to the chest, advancing age, and use of other heart-toxic drugs .

Every patient should have a multigated acquisition scan or echocardiogram to evaluate a baseline LVEF prior to initiating treatment. Cardiac symptoms should be monitored closely during treatment and after completion because problems can occur as late as seven to eight years after the last dose. In addition, the risk of developing a secondary malignancy, AML, and myelodysplastic syndrome is increased following treatment with doxorubicin. These leukemias generally occur within one to three years of treatment.

What To Wear To Chemo

SIDE EFFECTS OF RED CHEMO | Am I getting a port?

Since the nurses needed to access my arm to place the Neulasta OnPro device, I had to also pay attention to what I wore to my infusions. I found that a cardigan over a sleeveless shirt worked best.

This way I could pull off the cardigan when I needed to yet, stay covered and warm with the cardigan throughout the chemo process.

If your chemo port is on your chest, I also recommend wearing a shirt that has a relaxed neck or a v-neck so that its not in the way of the IV as you sit in the chemo chair.

The photo above was taken at my very last chemo session when I got to ring the bell! You can see my comfy cardigan that was easy to remove for the Neulasta device.

The hair in the photo isnt my own, but it is that of my favorite wig. I bought a ridiculously priced wig that I literally wore twice.

The wig pictured above wasnt expensive at all, and it was really comfortable to wear on my sensitive head. This is the wig I wore through treatment.

It comes super long, but I cut it myself to better match the length of my pre-chemo hair. The wig doesnt have hair on the top, just on the sides and back.

So, you obviously need to wear a hat with it. This is the hat in my picture. You can wear any hat that you own with the wig though.

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Preparing For Aggressive Chemotherapy

I first met my medical oncologist about a week after the bilateral mastectomy. He explained that I had a really aggressive cancer that wanted to both spread and come back.

So, we were going to have to fight it aggressively! My chemo treatment plan consisted of four rounds of the chemotherapy drugs Adriamycin and Cytoxan followed by twelve weeks of another drug called Taxol.

Since I was going to be receiving some heavy duty infusions, my oncologist wanted my breast surgeon to insert a chemo port into my chest.

How Is Adriamycin Given

Adriamycin is given as an infusion into a vein. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle when Adriamycin is injected.

Adriamycin is sometimes given together with other cancer medications. You may be given other medications to prevent nausea, vomiting, or infections.

If any of this medication accidentally gets on your skin, wash it thoroughly with soap and warm water.

Adriamycin can lower your blood cell counts. Your blood will need to be tested often. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results.

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Key Side Effect Of Anthracycline Drug: Doxorubicin Cardiotoxicity

As this chemotherapy drug is red in color and very toxic, Doxorubicin has a nickname called red devil, and cardiac toxicity is one of its most concerned side effects.

Doxorubicin in the anthracycline family may cause cumulative and dose-dependent cardiotoxicity, with such damage may cause the heart to be unable to pump enough blood to supply the cancer patients body with essential nutrients and oxygen, that may result in death.

Pamela Hallquist Viale, associate professor from the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, elaborates more on cardiotoxicity and chemotherapy in this excellent video:

Zero Side Effects On Red Devil

Chemotherapy: Day One  The [Other] C Word

Has anyone started out having side effects while on red devil but after about three months feel nothing? No nausea or headaches or fatigue or achy bones? My hair was thinking out and even that’s stopped? My blood work before each treatment used to be borderline, now it’s like before I even had cancer. I’m getting concerned that it’s not working at all. I also noticed two lumps in my arms over last couple weeks that are growing. Any ideas. Noone seems concerned except me.

Hi cablue2,

When you say Red Devil, are you referring to Doxorubicin? Hopefully I’ve got the right one but if you are talking about a different chemo do let us know which one it is as our members may not be familiar with the term you’re using.

Once our community know which chemo you’re on, I’m sure those who are having the same will be along soon to share their experiences and advice.

In the meantime, do continue to discuss your concerns with your medical team as they’re the only ones who can answer your questions and put your mind at ease about this but if you really feel like you’re not being listened to then you could try getting a second opinion from a different doctor.

I really do hope your chemo is still working and that the results of any follow up tests you’re due to have will show this.

Kind regards,

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How To Take Doxorubicin

  • Doxorubicin comes as a solution or as a powder to be mixed with liquid for intravenous injection by a doctor or nurse in a medical facility . It’s issued every 21 to 28 days on average. Treatment time is dictated by the medications you are taking, how well the body reacts to them, and the type of cancer you have. A doctor will give this drug by injecting it into a vein. The dosage is dependent on your medical condition, body size, and therapy response.
  • What Can My Body Tolerate

    Knowing what the Red Devil Chemo drug can do to your body and how it kills the cancer is important to understanding and knowing what you may expect while on treatment. While it is a very scary thought to receive a medication like this, know that in the world of breast cancer it is one of the most potent treatments we have to kill it!

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    Chemical: Gemcitabine / Brand: Gemzar

    How it works: Gemzar is a type of antimetabolite, which gets absorbed into cancer cells because it can mimic other components of the cell. Once its in, it prevents the cell from dividing and causes cell death. It can be given on its own, but is usually given along with another chemotherapy drug, either carboplatin or Taxol.

    Types of breast cancer treated: -Locally advanced: cancer has spread to lymph nodes and other tissues in the chest or neck-Metastatic: cancer has spread to other organs

    Pill or IV:Taken intravenously.

    Most common side effects:Hair loss sore mouth and taste changes nausea and vomiting fatigue fertility menopausal symptoms sore eyes and runny nose skin problems flu-like symptoms breathlessness liver and kidney problems.

    Chemical: Cisplatin / Brand: PlatinolHow it works: Paraplatin and Platinol actually contain platinum, and damage the DNA of cells to the point where they cannot repair themselves, causing cell death. They are typically given in combination with other chemo types after surgery, but can also be given prior. They may also be used in clinical trials for those with Triple Negative Breast Cancer or those have a BRCA gene mutation.

    Types of breast cancer treated:-Early stage: cancer hasnt spread-Locally advanced: cancer has spread to lymph nodes and other tissues in the chest or neck-Metastatic: cancer has spread to other organs

    Pill or IV:

    Nausea and vomiting fatigue chemo brain fertility menopausal symptoms.

    Chemical: Vinorelbine / Brand: Navelbine

    Chemotherapy last red devil

    How it works: Navelbine is a type of vinca alkaloid, which stops cell reproduction and destroys cancer cells altogether by interfering with DNA. Its derived from the periwinkle plant, and is often used alone.

    Types of breast cancer treated:-Locally advanced: cancer has spread to lymph nodes and other tissues in the chest or neck-Metastatic: cancer has spread to other organs

    Pill or IV:Taken orally or intravenously.

    Most common side effects:Nausea and vomiting sore mouth fatigue bowel issues numbness and tingling in hands and feet skin changes at infusion site liver changes.

    Chemical: Doxorubicin / Brand: Adriamycin Chemical: Epirubicin / Brand: Ellence Chemical: Pegylated liposomal doxorubicin / Brand: Doxil

    How it works:Anthracyclines damage the DNA of cancer cells, making them unable to divide and causing cell death. They can be either neoadjuvant or adjuvant and are typically used in combination with other chemo types, especially Cytoxan . Adriamycin is called the red devil because of its bright red color.

    Use of anthracyclines has decreased over the years. High usage can result in cardiac damage and they have severe side effects. Now anthracyclines are paired with other drugs and given at a much lower dose to reduce toxicity.

    The combination of Herceptin with anthracyclines can cause severe cardiac dysfunction and is not recommended.

    Pill or IV:Taken intravenously.

    Common combinations using anthracyclines:

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    Can The Red Devil Be Tamed

    – July 12, 2020

    For decades, the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin has been part of the arsenal in treating patients with several forms of cancer, including breast cancer and leukemia. The potent drug is a part of a class of compounds known as anthracyclines and is used to treat an estimated one million cancer patients each year.

    While its a powerful drug, its also very toxic. That and its red hue has given it the unflattering nickname the Red Devil. Its known to punish the cardiac system while it treats cancer, a dangerous side effect.

    But research suggests that there may be a way to reduce the drugs toxicity without blunting its ability to attack tumors. An academic team in the Netherlands plans to test two potentially safer versions of doxorubicins drug class in people.

    According to Dr. Roohi Ismail-Khan, a medical oncologist who serves as the co-director of Moffitt Cancer Centers Cardio-Oncology Program, a safer form of the drug called Doxil is already used to treat various cancers, especially gynecologic and breast cancers. This drug has a liposomal delivery, meaning it is inside tiny fat particles making it easier for the body to absorb with fewer side effects.

    Ismail-Khan said that patients are also encouraged to meet with a cardio-oncologist if they have pre-existing heart disease and are going to be treated with this class of drugs, or any cardio-toxic drugs for that matter.

    But what does all of this mean for cancer patients?

    Chemical: Eribulin / Brand: Halaven

    How it works:Halaven is a type of microtubule inhibitor, which interferes with a transportation component in cancer cells called microtubulin so that the cells stop dividing and die. It is typically given after other chemotherapy drugs like anthracyclines and taxanes have failed. Its derived from a type of sea sponge.

    Types of breast cancer treated:-Locally advanced: cancer has spread to lymph nodes and other tissues in the chest or neck-Metastatic: cancer has spread to other organs

    Pill or IV:Taken intravenously.

    Most common side effects:Nausea and vomiting sore mouth fatigue hair loss effects on fertility numbness and tingling in hands and feet heart changes bowel problems.

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    Angelas Cancer Treatment Checklist

    Everything happens quickly after a cancer diagnosis, Angela said. Test results can seem like a foreign language and trying to digest the news and information for making the best decisions for the best outcome can be hard. I recommend creating a cancer checklist.

    Heres Angelas checklist from start to finish:

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