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Cancer

27 October 2010

Use Anemia Drugs for Cancer Patients With Caution, Experts Say

New guidelines issued for drugs that reduce transfusion risk

This article has not necessarily been edited by Health24.

ESAs (marketed as Procrit, Epogen and Aranesp) stimulate the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells but are associated with shorter survival and increased risk of blood clots and tumor progression, the guidelines noted.

  • ESAs should not be given to cancer patients who are not receiving chemotherapy, except for those with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).
  • Doctors should discuss individual risks and benefits of ESAs and blood transfusion with patients before therapy. This shared decision-making is critical.

 

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CANSA’s purpose is to lead the fight against cancer in South Africa. Its mission is to be the preferred non-profit organisation that enables research, educates the public and provides support to all people affected by cancer. Questions are answered by CANSA’s Head of Health Professor Michael Herbst. For more information, visit cansa.org.za.

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