Q:

What are the long-term side effects of chemo and radiation therapy after total gastronomy surgery?

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Quick Answer

Some chemo drugs can potentially damage the heart permanently, reports the American Cancer Society. Occasionally, radiation can cause other forms of cancer, states Texas Oncology.

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Full Answer

When administered after surgery, chemotherapy or chemoradiation is called adjuvant therapy, states Texas Oncology. In some cases, chemotherapy or chemoradiation may be administered before a gastrectomy, lessening the amount of cancer to be removed. This pre-gastrectomy treatment is called neoadjuvant. Adjuvant and neoadjuvant chemoradiation pose equal long-term risks to patients, as reported by Texas Oncology and the American Cancer Society.

Chemotherapy drugs that possibly cause permanent heart damage typically do so in cases where a patient uses the drug in high doses or for an extended period, says the American Cancer Society. Attending doctors monitor heart functions closely and stop the administration of the drugs at the first signs of heart damage. The probability of radiation causing secondary cancers is linked to a patient's previous extensive exposure to radiation therapy or chemoradiation, according to Texas Oncology.

As of 2015, removal of part or all of the stomach, or gastrectomy, is the primary form of treating stomach cancer in the United States, as stated by the American Cancer Society. Chemotherapy or chemoradiation in conjunction with a gastrectomy helps to eliminate cancer within the stomach and micrometastases, which are bits of cancer that have spread from the stomach to the surrounding areas or other parts of the body, reports Texas Oncology.

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