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Women face more chemotherapy side-effects

Friday October 19th, 2018

Women being treated for oesophageal and stomach cancer may experience certain chemotherapy side-effects more often than men, according to analysis published last night.

The study, led by The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, examined data from four randomised trials carried out in the UK and Australasia, all of which looked at commonly used first-line chemotherapy combinations in advanced oesophageal and stomach cancer.

The researchers, who will present the findings at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress 2018, in Munich, Germany, found that 89% women experienced significantly higher rates of nausea and vomiting compared with 78% of men. Women also suffered diarrhoea more often than men (54% compared with 47%) and hair loss (81% compared with 74%).

They also found that serious adverse events during treatment were also higher in women. The study looked at data from 1,654 patients, 326 of whom were women.

Dr Michael Davidson, clinical research fellow at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Our findings show that women seem to experience higher rates of certain chemotherapy side effects than men in this cancer type, particularly those related to gastro-intestinal function.

"We have known for a long time in oncology that there are differences between males and females in the incidence and prognosis of many non gender-specific cancers. However, we are only just beginning to understand how genetic and biological differences between men and women influence cancer development and response to treatment."

Professor David Cunningham, Director of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said the study adds to the growing body of evidence that gender can be an important factor in cancer treatment.

Tags: Australia | Cancer | UK News | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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