Shocking Discoveries on Researchers Downplaying Side Effects of Drugs for Mesothelioma and Other Cancers
In the fight against malignant diseases caused by asbestos exposure, doctors may take several approaches. While surgery can physically remove the abnormal tissue, radiation and chemotherapy may be more common for patients whose conditions are advanced. These different treatments often work together.
At Kazan Law, we are very familiar with the side effects of chemotherapy. We are also excited about the fact that scientists are constantly developing new drugs while figuring out more effective ways to administer the existing ones. However, Reuters Health recently reported on a disturbing trend in which researchers seem to be downplaying the side effects of the drugs that they study.
Research finds surprising results
Ian Tannock, a scientist from Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, investigated how forthcoming researchers were in the presentation of 164 individual studies. He made some shocking discoveries:
- Two-thirds of the papers did not list the serious side effects of chemotherapy, radiation or surgery in the introductory abstract of the publication.
- One-fifth of the authors did not include the toxicities within their studies’ results tables.
- One-third of the scientific articles did not discuss toxicities in either their papers’ abstracts or discussion sections.
- One-third of the studies shifted the focus of their papers during the research if the authors found that they were not getting the results they hoped for. This can mean the difference between reporting lifespan without cancer and lifespan with relapsing disease.
These trends are important to note because doctors sometimes read only the paper’s abstract, increasing the chances that they can miss important information. Tannock also discovered that these behaviors were not limited to cancer studies.
“Investigators want to go overboard to make their studies look positive,” Tannock told Reuters Health.
Altering the way an experiment’s results are reported can increase the chances of publication, which in turn boosts the authors’ likelihood of receiving grants and tenure.
Tannock suggested that scientific journals can discourage these practices by requiring authors to talk about side effects and other problems within their abstracts. Furthermore, those who read journal articles need to learn how to be more critical.
Chemo side effects and asbestos-induced diseases
The National Cancer Institute lists the most common side effects of chemotherapy as nausea, vomiting, fatigue, hair loss, oral sores, pain and decreased blood cell counts. These complications occur because medications for cancer usually target cells that have a high rate of growth, including healthy ones.
Not all patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer or other diseases experience the same chemotherapy side effects. This tends to depend on the type of treatment a patient is undergoing, as well as his or her overall health before the course begins.
If you experience any side effects from your cancer treatment, it is important to discuss them with your medical team. Sometimes these side effects can curb your motivation to adhere to your regimen, which can only lead to more problems. Instead, ask you physician about how you can cope.
For example, the American Cancer Society has several tips on how you can deal with changes in your appetite caused by nausea or problems in the mouth. Eating a balanced diet is still important during cancer therapy because it will help you maintain your strength and stay healthy.
To help increase your desire to eat, try walking before meals or eating with loved ones. Additionally, you should try to add variety to different aspects of your mealtime, such as the setting or the types of food that you consume.
Sitting down to three average-sized meals a day may seem daunting if you have a low appetite. Instead, consider eating several smaller meals throughout the day. This may make it easier to keep food down.