Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Chemo and Lupus: FAQs

Wait, what? Why chemo?
            I know that I’ve written about chemo before, but I still get asked about it on a regular basis. And I realize that it’s even more confusing now that I’ve actually been diagnosed with malignant cancer. So, to lay it out clearly: surgery was enough to treat my cancer, and the chemo that I’m on has absolutely nothing to do with cancer. Instead I, and many others, take low-dose chemotherapy to treat my lupus.
As a side note, I’m using “chemo” or “chemotherapy” as it is used in the vernacular; the terms refer to medications that are traditionally given to cancer patients. (As opposed to the scientific use, in which any chemical used to treat a disease can be called a chemotherapeutic agent).

But lupus isn’t cancer, right?
            No, lupus is not cancer. Lupus can predispose a person to develop certain cancers, but it is not itself any form of cancer. So why do we take chemo? The answer is that we basically take it for the side-effects. When a cancer patient takes chemo, one of the side-effects of the treatment is that (s)he becomes very immunocompromised. The chemo “accidentally” kills cells in the immune system while killing cancer cells; it’s a form of chemical friendly fire. This is why cancer patients tend to be very careful about crowds, and will wear face-masks if necessary to avoid infections. Lupus patients, on the other hand, need our immune systems to be shut down, since the immune system is responsible for our disease.

How does chemo help treat lupus symptoms?
            What many people don’t realize is that chemo drugs generally don’t target any specific kind of cell. There are certainly exceptions, but most of the time the chemo is a wide-spectrum poison that kills any rapidly dividing/growing cells. Since many cancers grow much more quickly than most healthy tissue in the body,  this strategy can be highly successful in treating cancer. Unfortunately, cancerous cells aren’t the only quick-growing cells in the body, and other quickly growing cells will also be killed by chemo. The idea is to give a patient enough chemo to kill cancerous cells, but not so much that it kills the patient. As it turns out, the cells in the immune system are some of the most quickly growing cells in the body, so they are hit hard by chemo drugs. So for those of us whose immune systems are overactive, chemo can help kill off enough immune cells to help improve our symptoms.

Do lupus patients on chemo have the same side-effects?
            This really varies from person to person. In general, lupus patients take a lower dose of a chemo drug than a cancer patient would, so the side-effects tend to be less severe. That being said, yes, most of us experience some degree of nausea, headaches, mouth sores and often hair loss. The symptoms are there, but they aren’t (again, generally) as severe. Side-effects from chemo occur because other rapidly-dividing cells, such as the cells that line the mouth and GI tract, are killed. Chemo is not a very specific tool, which is why the approval of new, more targeted, lupus drugs is so exciting.

How long are lupus patients on chemo?
            Cancer patients are often given a defined schedule of chemo treatments. They may, for example, have to receive an infusion of chemo once every other week for two months. Lupus patients, on the other hand, very rarely have a defined schedule. We don’t get told to come in for two months. It is not uncommon for a patient to stay on a particular chemo drug until the body builds up resistance to it. So we don’t know how long we will be on chemo, but it’s likely to be months or even years. This is only possible because the dose given to lupus patients is significantly less than that given to cancer patients. 

28 comments:

  1. thanks for the information .. it all helps..i am just going through the process of may be going on the chemo .. this is clear information which i find helpful.
    Cheers
    Lee-Ann from Australia

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    Replies
    1. I am glad with the invention of natural herbal permanent cure for herpes. Sometimes last year i was checking for permanent solution to this offensive infection i got from boy friend then i came across a testimony shared by someone who got cured already and i applied E-mail; nativeherbalclinic@gmail.com or Www.nativeherbalclinic.webs.com The herbal doctor called me to ask if i actually needed the cure, i ordered and he sent me the herbs which i used for two weeks then i was totally relieved of all symptoms. Now i completely test negative to HSV11. Thank you Doctor.

      Delete
  2. I'm so happy when people tell me these posts are helpful. Do you have any remaining questions I could answer?

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  3. Hi, Ive been trying to find research around lupus and chemo. I have lupus spectrum disorder, pernicious anaemia, hypereosiniphillia, fibromyalgia and few other ailments. I am trying to convince my consultant to let me try chemotherapy. Have you got any advice, and any other articles or views on this matter.

    Laura from united kingdom

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    1. What kind of articles are you looking for? If your consultant would be interested in scientific literature, I can find some articles for you. Otherwise, I recommend this as a basic overview of the most commonly used (for lupus) chemo drug in the USA:

      http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR600919

      It's worth noting that the doses lupus patients take are much, much lower than those taken by cancer patients, so the side-effects generally are not as severe. With this drug in particular, a supplement of folic acid greatly reduces side-effects in lupus patients (I can personally attest to that!)

      I hope some of that helps.

      Sam

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    2. Thanks for spending the time to reply. I would love some articles if possible, but i will look at the information you have given me and discuss with my consultant. Many thanks

      Laura

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  4. I have a cousin that is suffering from lupus. Her doctor wants to put her on Chemo. I have some experience with Chemo due to my husband having cancer (leukemia and lymphoma)and going through 2 rounds of chemotherapy. The doctors didn't tell us that taking chemotherapy would open up the possibility others cancers.
    Because my cousin is a smoker, I am concerned that chemotherapy could be opening up other possibilities for cancer. Is it worth the price of the possibilities just for relief from Lupus?
    Wishing you all the very best...
    K2

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    1. That's a question that only your sister and her doctor can answer, as only they know how severe her lupus is, and how badly it is damaging her body. That being said, the levels of chemo used for the treatment of lupus are much lower than those used for cancer. The increased risk of cancer from the chemo is therefore also smaller. But the risk does exist, and it really just depends on the balance of how bad the lupus is vs. how concerned your sister is about an increased risk of cancer. You are absolutely right to be worried about the fact that she also smokes...at this point she has multiple risk factors, and that's never good. But again, the severity of her lupus may warrant the risk. It's always a balance game with chemo.

      Sorry I can't give a more definite answer, but lupus is a pain in the neck that way.

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  5. maggie.danhakl@healthline.comAugust 30, 2014 at 4:40 AM

    Hi,

    Healthline just designed a virtual guide of the effects of chemotherapy on the body. You can see the infographic here: http://www.healthline.com/health/cancer/effects-on-body

    This is valuable med-reviewed information that can help a person understand the side effects they are experiencing from their chemo treatment. I thought this would be of interest to your audience, and I’m writing to see if you would include this as a resource on your page: http://www.samvslupus.com/2011/07/chemo-and-lupus-faqs.html

    If you do not believe this would be a good fit for a resource on your site, even sharing this on your social communities would be a great alternative to help get the word out.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to review. Please let me know your thoughts and if I can answer any questions for you.

    All the best,
    Maggie Danhakl • Assistant Marketing Manager
    p: 415-281-3124 f: 415-281-3199

    Healthline • The Power of Intelligent Health
    660 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
    www.healthline.com | @Healthline | @HealthlineCorp

    About Us: corp.healthline.com

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  6. I am looking into this because I was recently diagnosed with lupus and am trying to find solutions.

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    Replies
    1. What kind of solutions are you looking for? Treatment options? I'm sorry to hear about your lupus, but hope that you have good doctors to work with!

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  7. I have a question. On another board, I'm being unfairly attacked because I have been talking about having had Chemotherapy with a drug called Cytoxan, a Chemo drug. They keep jumping me saying I don't know the difference between a Chemo drug and Chemotherapy. I told them if I'm wrong, show me the info and I'll stand corrected. However, they never back it up. Is there a difference, and if so, what is it? Thank you!

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  8. I Have a few questions. My mom has rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, she has to take chemo in a weird pill form, do you know if this drugs help both of these auto-immune diseases, or is this not true. My next question is how bad can the negative side effects get with both of these diseases? thanks for the information and I hope you can answer these questions for me

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  9. Have been suffering from (LUPUS) disease for the past four years and had constant pain, especially in my knees. During the first year,I had faith in God that i would be healed someday.This disease started circulating all over my body and i have been taking treatment from my doctor, few weeks ago i came on search on the internet if i could get any information concerning the prevention of this disease, on my search i saw a testimony of someone who has been healed from (HERPES VIRUS) by this Man Dr Osemudiamen and she also gave the email address of this man and advise we should contact him for any sickness that he would be of help, so i wrote to Dr.Osemudiamen telling him about my (LUPUS) he told me not to worry that i was going to be cured!! hmm i never believed it,well after all the procedures and remedy given to me by this man few weeks later i started experiencing changes all over me as the Dr assured me that i have cured,after some time i went to my doctor to confirmed if i have be finally healed behold it was TRUE, So friends my advise is if you have such sickness or any other at all you can email: drosemudiamenspellhome@gmail.com or call +2347038110398. He told me that he also help people to cure HERPES VIRUS and also help people to bring their ex lover back. contact dr Osemudiamen if you have any problem. email: drosemudiamenspellhome@gmail.com

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  10. I am very happy today to share my testimony on how a herbal doctor cure me from LUPUS. I was infected with LUPUS, i went to many hospitals for cure but there was no solution, so I was thinking on how to get a solution out so that my body can be restore again. i found an article about one doctor who already help a lady with his herbal medicine. then i contacted him. He told me all the things I need to do, and he send the herbal medicine to me here in my country to take, I followed the instruction properly on how to take it. Before I knew what is happening after two weeks the LUPUS that was in my body got vanished . so if you are also heart broken and also need a help, you can also email him at dr.abaherbalhome@gmail.com or whatsApp his number +2348107155060

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am very happy today to share my testimony on how a herbal doctor cure me from LUPUS. I was infected with LUPUS, i went to many hospitals for cure but there was no solution, so I was thinking on how to get a solution out so that my body can be restore again. i found an article about one doctor who already help a lady with his herbal medicine. then i contacted him. He told me all the things I need to do, and he send the herbal medicine to me here in my country to take, I followed the instruction properly on how to take it. Before I knew what is happening after two weeks the LUPUS that was in my body got vanished . so if you are also heart broken and also need a help, you can also email him at dr.abaherbalhome@gmail.com or whatsApp his number +2348107155060

    ReplyDelete
  12. My name is Riska Stella from USA i am so very happy to testify about this great herbal Dr Ojie I was browsing through the Internet searching for remedy on LUPUS and i saw comment of people talking about how Dr Ojie cured them. I Was scared because i never believed in the Internet but i was convince to give him a try because i having no hope of been cured of LUPUS so i decided to contact him with his email that was listed on the comment { drojiespelltemple@gmail.com } Or check his website: https://drojiespelltemple.wixsite.com/spelltemple when i contacted him he gave me hope and send a Herbal medicine to me that i took and it seriously worked for me, am a free person now without problem, my LUPUS result came out negative. I pray for you Dr Ojie God will give you everlasting life, you shall not die before your time for being a sincere and grate men. Am so happy, you can also contact him if you have any problem Email:{ drojiespelltemple@gmail.com } or call the dr number +2348105074556

    ReplyDelete
  13. My name is Riska Stella from USA i am so very happy to testify about this great herbal Dr Ojie I was browsing through the Internet searching for remedy on LUPUS and i saw comment of people talking about how Dr Ojie cured them. I Was scared because i never believed in the Internet but i was convince to give him a try because i having no hope of been cured of LUPUS so i decided to contact him with his email that was listed on the comment { drojiespelltemple@gmail.com } Or check his website: https://drojiespelltemple.wixsite.com/spelltemple when i contacted him he gave me hope and send a Herbal medicine to me that i took and it seriously worked for me, am a free person now without problem, my LUPUS result came out negative. I pray for you Dr Ojie God will give you everlasting life, you shall not die before your time for being a sincere and grate men. Am so happy, you can also contact him if you have any problem Email:{ drojiespelltemple@gmail.com } or call the dr number +2348105074556

    ReplyDelete
  14. HELLO everybody am from New Zealand I wanna thank the great DR ABOR for curing me from LUPUS with the help of his herbal medicine am very happy, I never thought I would ever be cured because of the condition the doctor give to me, until a friend of mine direct me to this man called DR ABOR who healed me totally from herpes virus and hiv, he is a good man and he also cast spell, you can reach him with IRABORSPELLHERBALHOME@GMAIL.COM
    and he also cure
    1, HEPATITIS A B C
    2, ANY TYPE OF CANCER,
    3, LUPUS,
    4, HERPES VIRUS,
    5, LOOKING FOR BABY,
    6,WEAK ERECTION EJACULATION
    7, HIV AIDS
    8. pimples and others
    he also cast spell to get your EX BACK
    you can reach him on via IRABORSPELLHERBALHOME@GMAIL.COM OR WHATSAPP my agent or call +393512728432

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hello Everyone, I had Lupus as well and I was at the point of getting confused in life because it was really making me feel unsettled. But I came across a testimony of a lady on how she was introduced to a herbal doctor called Dr Ighodalo by her cousin's friend when i was on a research but i never thought this could cure my Lupus. I decided to give it a try and i contacted the mail of the doctor she placed on her testimony via dr.ighodalocuringhome@gmail.com and i got a reply immediately i messaged him, I followed his instructions and did all he asked me to do and apply the remedy he sent for me as he instructed and now am cured totally and really happy to be a free person again. So i decided to share my experience because i believe that there are still lives out there that really needs to get out of this Lupus diseases please you can get in touch with Dr IGHODALO immediately to help you get cured totally via dr.ighodalocuringhome@gmail.com thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I am glad with the invention of natural herbal permanent cure for herpes. Sometimes last year i was checking for permanent solution to this offensive infection i got from boy friend then i came across a testimony shared by someone who got cured already and i applied E-mail; nativeherbalclinic@gmail.com or Www.nativeherbalclinic.webs.com The herbal doctor called me to ask if i actually needed the cure, i ordered and he sent me the herbs which i used for two weeks then i was totally relieved of all symptoms. Now i completely test negative to HSV11. Thank you Doctor.

    ReplyDelete
  17. i was having this deadly DISEASE for months i tried everything within my power to get rid of this illness all to no avail not until i came across a post from a forum about this great Dr that heals people with herbal med( herbs),i cant say much but my heart is filled with gratitude and appreciation, please if you are suffering from herpes or any other STD kindly contact Dr Ojie and be rest assured that you will get remedy you seek. herbs cure Herpes and Lupus contact Dr Ojie through his

    EMAIL HIM: drojiespelltemple@gmail.com
    WEBSITE: https://drojiespelltemple.wixsite.com/spelltemple
    CALL OR WHATSAPP : +2348105074556
    FACEKBOOK PAGE: https://web.facebook.com/Dr-Ojie-Spell-Temple-245874842557384/

    ReplyDelete
  18. Okay,I am a 19 year old who has faced severe trauma in my Life due to what I think chemotherapy had done. I Was was diagnosed with lupus in 2013 and was immediately recommended for chemotherapy. But, when I received this treatment I actually got worst. I couldn't walk,talk, feel when I went to the bathroom or anything shortly after starting the treatment. The doctors told my family they weren't sure if I Was going to Make it. But, shortly a optomologist came to See me. This what my family said happened and looked into my eyes & said I needed vitamins. After receiving the vitamins for like a few weeks I Was sitting up again. But I had to Learn everything all over again. This was a hard time in my Life. So I Still don't know about this chemo being affective for lupus due to my experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you want to contact me my email is Emanii47.eg@gmail.com or my Facebook is Emanii Green I Have on a cap & gown with a white flowered dress. Thank to God I am here today and graduated.

      Delete
  19. i was having this deadly DISEASE for months i tried everything within my power to get rid of this illness all to no avail not until i came across a post from a forum about this great Dr that heals people with herbal med( herbs),i cant say much but my heart is filled with gratitude and appreciation, please if you are suffering from herpes or any other STD kindly contact Dr Ojie and be rest assured that you will get remedy you seek. herbs cure HERPES and LUPUS contact Dr Ojie through his

    EMAIL HIM: drojiespelltemple@gmail.com
    CALL OR WHATSAPP : +2348105074556
    FACEKBOOK PAGE:; https://web.facebook.com/Dr-Ojie-Spell-Temple-245874842557384/

    ReplyDelete
  20. i was having this deadly DISEASE for months i tried everything within my power to get rid of this illness all to no avail not until i came across a post from a forum about this great Dr that heals people with herbal med( herbs),i cant say much but my heart is filled with gratitude and appreciation, please if you are suffering from herpes or any other STD kindly contact Dr Ojie and be rest assured that you will get remedy you seek. herbs cure HERPES and LUPUS contact Dr Ojie through his

    EMAIL HIM: drojiespelltemple@gmail.com
    CALL OR WHATSAPP : +2348105074556
    FACEKBOOK PAGE:; https://web.facebook.com/Dr-Ojie-Spell-Temple-245874842557384/ .....

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hello everyone here in this forum i am so glad that i have this great opportunity to come out here and share my testimony on how Dr Ojie who help my Husband to cure LUPUS is from the devil who seeks to kill steal and destroy. Don’t let him! God wants to heal you and make you pure… it IS his will, and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise! Reach mukoko SPELL TEMPLE by email drojiespelltemple@gmail.com

    CALL OR WHATSAPP : +2348146226679 +2348105074556
    FACEKBOOK PAGE: https://web.facebook.com/Dr-Ojie-Spell-Temple-245874842557384/

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hello everyone here in this forum i am so glad that i have this great opportunity to come out here and share my testimony on how Dr Ojie who help my Husband to cure LUPUS is from the devil who seeks to kill steal and destroy. Don’t let him! God wants to heal you and make you pure… it IS his will, and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise! Reach mukoko SPELL TEMPLE by email drojiespelltemple@gmail.com

    CALL OR WHATSAPP : +2348146226679 +2348105074556
    FACEKBOOK PAGE: https://web.facebook.com/Dr-Ojie-Spell-Temple-245874842557384/ .///

    ReplyDelete