(Mirror Daily, United States) – Besides the consequences of cancer, chemotherapy is another challenge for patients. Thanks to the high-tech scans, doctors can now establish which patients who are suffering from cancer of the lymphatic system need a more intense chemotherapy.
In other words, some of them will be spared from the side effects of this strong treatment. A team of scientists from the University of Southampton, United Kingdom, scanned over 1,200 patients with advanced Hodgkin lymphoma using positron emission tomography (PET).
Another important fact is that these patients had previously gone under two standard cycles of chemotherapy. Then, researchers divided the patients into two groups. In other words, one kept having the chemotherapy cycle with the use of the drug bleomycin, and the other group continued with standard chemotherapy without taking the drug.
Based on the results, patients from the second group had the same chances of survival as the ones from bleomycin group. In addition to this, it was no need for them to suffer the side effects of the drug. However, these two groups consisted only of patients who had a clear PET scan.
The ones who did not have a clear scan needed a stronger chemotherapy treatment as the disease was more resilient in their organism. It is known that bleomycin is a drug that proved to be very useful over the last 30 years in treating Hodgkin lymphoma.
Unfortunately, this drug is not only useful but also very strong, meaning that taking it for a longer period may lead to severe consequences, especially on lungs. Scientists found that bleomycin caused breathing problems to cancer survivors after a few years.
However, it seems like a good price to pay for fighting back cancer. Nowadays, thanks to these high-tech scans, doctors can accurately spot which are the patients who need a more intensive type of chemotherapy treatment.
According to Peter Johnson, a scientist from the University of Southampton, PET scans are a significant medical development that will brighten the future of Hodgkin lymphoma patients. Plus, these scans are like a fresh breath of air until experts develop a better approach and a more efficient strategy to deal with all types of cancer.
Besides chemotherapy, scientists aim to find a way to reduce the need for radiotherapy as well. Hopefully, their efforts will pay off as soon as possible.
Image Source:Aspen Times