Optimal Treatment of Anemia Requires Thorough Work-up of Patients
May 01, 2002
COLUMBIA, South Carolina-Anemia impairs quality of life and functional status, can interfere with cancer therapies, and now seems linked to poorer prognosis and shortened life span, at least in some cancer patients, according to Robert E. Smith, Jr., MD, president of South Carolina Oncology Associates and clinical associate professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Columbia. In his experience, and that of other oncologists, recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) and darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp) can increase hemoglobin levels, decrease fatigue, and improve quality of life for cancer patients. To get optimal treatment results with erythropoietic agents, however, requires understanding the full range of etiologies of anemia and its signs and symptoms, and a thorough work-up of patients.