ANCHOR LEAD: USING DRUGS TO TREAT ANEMIA IN PEOPLE WITH CANCER MAY HASTEN DEATH, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Use of drugs to stimulate red blood cell production and improve anemia in patients undergoing treatment for cancer may actually cause them to die sooner than patients who don’t take these drugs, a recent study revealed. Ben Park, an oncologist at Johns Hopkins, says most physicians are probably aware of the dangers.
PARK: It has certainly raised the awareness of most physicians and oncologists about using these agents in cancer patients now. I think that most oncologists these days would probably really avoid using these erythropoietin and procrit drugs in their cancer patients knowing the data that we have right now. I won’t say that its an absolute contraindication because I think that there could be for whatever reason certain examples where it may still be of benefit. :26
People who have severe anemia may still elect to receive transfusions, which are relatively safe due to extensive testing of blood prior to its use. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.