Yuvraj Singh cancer treatment was one of the most painful experiences he had to suffer. Chemotherapy also called chemo has many benefits and drawbacks. Many Indian cancer patients for are treated with chemotherapy for a wide-array of cancers. When cricketer Yuvraj Singh had cancer, he shared his experience about the difficulties due to chemo. Here are a few questions and answers.
What was Yuvraj Singh cancer treatment and why is it used?
Chemotherapy has long been a mainstay for cancer treatment, around the world and is widely used for cancer care in India. Chemo is a type of anti-cancer drug that aims either to cure by killing cancer cells in the body or delay the progression of the disease. The type of chemotherapy drug, the dosage and the number of treatment cycles often greatly vary by cancer type and even patient to patient. Chemo is often used in combination with other treatments such as targeted therapy or immunotherapy. Chemotherapy is often recommended by cancer treatment guidelines.
What are the dangers of undergoing chemotherapy?*
Chemotherapy side effects are very important for patients and doctors when deciding the treatment plan. Here are short term and long term side effects:
- Risk of causing secondary cancers
- Hair loss
- Weight loss
- Low red blood cell count
- Damage to body parts and organs including:
- Bones and soft tissue
- Mouth and tongue
- Nerve damage
Famous Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh suffered from lung cancer and was treated with chemotherapy. He described the painful side-effects chemo including extreme pain and nausea, along with the inability to drink water.
“The side effects of chemo made me reel on my knees some days.”
“For almost three months during my chemo I couldn’t drink water. My body used to crave it and the moment I used to drink it I would throw up.”
– Yuvraj Singh on Chemotherapy Treatment side effects
Given the effects of chemotherapy can I avoid it?
Chemo is not used in every patient. If you do not want cancer you should ask your doctor for alternatives. Some patients can try to opt for a new generation of cancer treatment: immunotherapy or targets therapy. There are tests including EndoPredict for breast cancer and Prolaris for prostate cancer which are guideline recommended (ASCO, NCCN, etc) and have helped hundreds of Indian patients avoid chemotherapy treatment. EndoPredict is a breast cancer recurrence test used in early stage breast cancer patients and gives a percentage benefit for chemo. Patients falling in low-risk may safely avoid it.
Prolaris is a prostate cancer test to determine aggressiveness and thereby decide if chemo is necessary or can be safely avoided. PositiveSelect tests including PositiveSelect Ultimate may help select the right chemo most likely to benefit the patient.
Does chemotherapy work for all patients? Is there circumstances where it does not work?
Chemo does not work for all patients. In fact, many patients undergoing chemo see no positive effect whatsoever and still suffer the negative consequences. In certain groups of early stage breast cancer (T1 node negative, HER2 -, ER and PR+) as many as 2 of every 3 patients can safely avoid chemo, which yields no benefit! EndoPredict can help with this treatment decision by providing a definitive score on the benefit of chemo. Similarly, Prolaris can help men with prostate cancer decide their treatment course.
Do you have any tips for patients?
Always find out the type, dosage and duration of chemo being planned and do your research. Check to see if there are tests which can help avoid it. Factor in patient age and condition before going for chemo. Please always remember to consult your doctor before making decisions.
Reference for Yuvraj Singh cancer details:
Disclaimer: Opinions in this post is solely for education purposes. This post has been written from the author’s personal point of view, combined with previously published public statements from Yuvraj Singh, with reference links included wherever applicable. The views and content included here have not been endorsed by Yuvraj Singh.