Not so long ago, crippling nausea and vomiting were routine for people
undergoing chemotherapy. But thanks to new drugs and other treatments, that
isn't the case anymore.
"We've made great progress," says Karen Syrjala, PhD, director of
biobehavioral sciences at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in
Seattle. "We have much less nausea and vomiting now -- even though we're
using much higher doses of chemotherapy than we did before." Because we can
control the side effects, Syrjala says cancer treatment itself is much more
This complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) information summary provides an overview of the use of Cannabis and its components as a treatment for people with cancer -related symptoms caused by the disease itself or its treatment.
This summary contains the following key information:
Cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.
By federal law, the possession of Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is illegal in the United States.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration...
Antinausea medications -- or antiemetics -- are so effective, that experts
have shifted their focus from treating nausea to its aggressive prevention.
"My standard goal is to stop nausea before it happens," says Christy
Russell, MD, chair of the American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Advisory
Committee, "rather than waiting for it to start and then treating
Of course, not all cases of nausea and vomiting can be prevented -- 70-80%
of people on chemotherapy still face some risk. But thanks to better treatment,
most people in chemotherapy are able to go about their normal lives, working
and caring for their families.
"You may not feel great all the time," says Carmen Escalante, MD,
chair of the department of general internal medicine at the University of Texas
M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. "But you can keep going. And that's a big
improvement on what chemotherapy used to be like."