The Red Devil-Day 7, DI
Hey folks. It is an anthracycline ANTIBIOTIC. But, that being said, it is used for blood cancers, as well as, some other carcinomas and sarcomas. It works to prevent cell growth by preventing DNA replication. So, no replication >>>no new cells—healthy ones & cancer ones.
Oddly, it comes from dirt. Why a researcher thinking about cancer would say, “Let’s check out the dirt for cancer killing properties,” is anyone’s guess. And, not only that, but two different teams were developing the same idea. So, the name daunorubicin was born of French and Italian influences. From what I understand, this type of antibiotic (the anthracyclines), was developed much earlier, like 1939, but like all science, needed some tweaking before it could be used. This drug works fantastically except for one little thing—
the fatal cardiac toxicity. Yup folks, that means that those who take this drug could die from the side effects.
Yup, that means that Isa’s heart could be irreparably damaged. So much so, that she dies. Great. Love that. Remember that during Day 1, DI we went for an echocardiogram, (EKG) to measure her heart. That test gives the docs a baseline to compare how the dastardly medicine has affected her. Supposedly the drug dexrazoxane works to counter-act the side effects, but from what I understand it only works when the doxo leaks out of the vessel and kills the surrounding tissue.
…but because the chemotherapy kills heart muscle cells as a side effect, survivors can experience an improperly beating left ventricle, congestive heart failure, or arrhythmias that can cause sudden death. One study estimated that, even 25 years after they were treated, their risk of dying from heart disease is more than eight times normal. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur when using Doxorubicin:
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); chest or back pain; fainting; fast heartbeat; headache; loose or bloody stools; pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site; rectal bleeding or irritation; redness, pain, swelling, peeling, tingling, or blistering of the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet; serious infection (eg, fever, chills, cough, sore throat); shortness of breath; sores in the mouth or on the lips; sudden irregular heartbeat; sudden weight gain; swelling of the ankles; tightness in the chest and throat; unusual bruising or bleeding.
Even though any good cancer parent is watching for sickness and so forth a BIG no, no is being around anyone who has just received a LIVE vaccine. We think of these occurring with young children of course, but sometimes adults get vaccines and do not consider them dangerous. Ask everyone about their history before handling your child.
Examples of live attenuated vaccines include:
- Measles vaccine (as found in the MMR vaccine)
- Mumps vaccine (MMR vaccine)
- Rubella (German measles) vaccine ( MMR vaccine)
- Oral polio vaccine (OPV)
- Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine
One other important thing to remember is that secondary to the cancer being treated, this drug can cause AML, another leukemia.
Once again, as we examine the medicines more closely, we realize that the treatment is just as dangerous as the disease.
Today, Isa received a massage with some nice smelling essential oils. Who here doesn’t want one of those?