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Most Cancer Survivors Say Chemo Fears Unfounded
Date:4/4/2008

Potentially lifesaving treatments are easier now, survey suggests

FRIDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- Although most cancer survivors polled in a recent survey said they had been fearful of undergoing chemotherapy, most also said the treatments were much less trying than they had expected.

In fact, 94 percent said they would advise others to undergo chemotherapy if their doctor recommended it.

"Like most people, I was filled with fears about chemotherapy, particularly about the possible side effects," said award-winning broadcast journalist and author Linda Ellerbee, 63, who underwent a double mastectomy and chemotherapy after being diagnosed with breast cancer 16 years ago.

Ellerbee spoke at a recent news briefing in New York City, convened to announce the results of the survey.

"It wasn't fun -- no one will tell you that chemotherapy is fun. But it wasn't as bad as I expected, either," Ellerbee said. "The reality is that I believe that I am here today, partly because that treatment worked."

Ellerbee, for decades a renowned journalist at CBS, NBC and then PBS, is also the author of a number of books for both children and adults. The mother of two, she now writes and hosts Nick News for Nickelodeon.

The survey -- which polled 326 U.S. adults who had undergone cancer chemotherapy within the past five years -- was sponsored by the nonprofit National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) and drug maker Sanofi-Aventis, who together have created the Surviving With Confidence campaign to help patients gain a better understanding of cancer care.

Some of the survey's findings:

  • Around eight out of 10 cancer survivors said they had been fearful prior to starting chemotherapy, with most (76 percent) worried primarily about side effects such as hair loss, nausea and fatigue.
  • Looking back, almost two-thirds (62 percent) said those fears were unj
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