Chemotherapy can cause unpleasant side effects including vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss and low blood counts. Changing up the treatment schedule could make the drugs more tolerable.
Jazz singer Tia Clarke is in her second battle with breast cancer but she says, this treatment's going smoother than before. "In my prior treatments with chemotherapy, I was given the cocktail all at one time and then I was expected to go home and be functional which wasn't happening."
Now, instead of one big dose, Tia's getting 'fractionated' chemo a cycle of smaller doses over a longer period of time, "it doesn't hit your body all at once, so you do have quality time." "When you give it weekly, two or three weeks in a row, with one week off, significant side effects decrease."
Certain chemotherapy drugs have specific side effects. Taxotere, commonly used in breast cancer, causes a low blood count "we see less of that when that drug is fractionated, for example." For some patients, a fractionated dose may even be more effective. The total amount of chemotherapy actually is higher.
I think that's one component of why there's a slightly higher response, particularly in breast carcinoma, normally when this drug is administered this way. Tia's had some side effects, but they're much less toxic. Doctors were able to prescribe natural supplements to make them tolberable.