Cisplatin Chemotherapy Treatment

Cisplatin, also known as Platinol or CDDP is a chemotherapy agent often used as combination therapy for treating stomach cancer.

CDDP is a shortened version of cis-diaminedichloroplatinum, the platinum binds to DNA and prevents cell division and ultimately leads on to death.

It can be used to treat a variety of cancers including esophageal, stomach, bladder, testicular and breast malignancies.

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About Cisplatin

The drug is normally administered in an injectable form. A clear, colourless liquid which is given through a central or midline, similar to most chemotherapy agents and as an infusion.

Plenty of fluids are administered with this drug due to the risk of kidney damage.

Side Effects

As with any drug, side effects can be an issue although in most cases these can be predicted and dealt with accordingly.

They may include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Allergic reaction
  • Lethargy
  • Hearing loss
  • Kidney failure
  • Electrolyte disturbance (low magnesium, calcium, potassium)
  • Sore mouth and taste changes
  • Paraesthesia or tingling in the hands and feet from nerve damage
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased risk of infection
  • Rashes
  • Infertility
  • Hair loss

Precautions Before and After Chemotherapy Treatment

If you feel unwell or develop a temperature, you should inform your cancer doctor before starting treatment as you could be at risk through administration of this drug.

You must also observe for side effects and report anything unusual.

If you develop any fevers, bleeding or you stop passing urine you must contact your cancer specialist urgently.

The risk of neutropenia (low white cell count) occurs approx 7 to 10 days after administration and this is the time when you are more likely to develop infections. 

Neutropenia usually starts to resolve approximately 2 weeks after administration of this drug.

You should also use contraceptive measures on these drugs as they cause abnormalities to the baby if you conceive whilst on them.

Success Rates And Benefits

The drug is usually used in combination with other chemotherapy agents although the benefits or response rates are quite modest in advanced stomach cancer.

Choice of drugs and outcomes should always be discussed with your oncologist and you may be offered a selection of agents for your particular stage of disease.

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