Updated: December 8, 2007
ITP: Immune Thrombocytopenia
Possible Connection to H. pylori
Platelets in Danger
Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is a serious complication of CLL that affects a small percentage of patients. It is a condition in which the immune system destroys platelets. Research suggests that a common pathogen, Helicobacter pylori, can sometimes be the cause of ITP and that controlling and eradicating this infection can resolve ITP in its early stage. We discuss this and other characteristics of this condition in ITP: Immune Thrombocytopenia. (12/6/07)
Infections: Who Is Most at Risk?
Prognostic Indicators Can Identify Infection Risk
Know Your Enemy
Serious infections account for an alarming proportion of deaths among CLL patients. But are some patients more at risk than others? What are the prognostic indicators which can help you assess the risk of serious infections in your own case? In Who Is Most at Risk? we review a very recent article that looks at the different risk buckets and provides some practical pointers to improve your chances of staying out of the hospital.
Super Bugs: Staph
MRSA Is on the Loose
The Dangers of Drug Resistant Bacterial Infections
Recent reports prove that infections from strains of drug-resistant bacteria are far more prevalent than previously thought, accounting for more than half of all skin infections treated in hospital emergency rooms. Infectious diseases experts are trying hard to get the word out. While this poses a serious threat to public health, CLL patients will do well to pay special attention to this phenomenon and take some precautions — so that they may avoid these difficult and persistent infections which their systems are ill-equipped to fight. Read about these super bugs in The Dangers of Drug Resistant Bacterial Infections.
The Kiss that Can Kill
The Enemy Within
The Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) has long been known as a complicating factor in many cancers. Recent research has shown just how serious is the threat posed by this virus in CLL. EBV is estimated to be present in over 90% of adults in the western world, but is normally kept in dormancy by active T-cells. Read The Enemy Within to learn how EBV can interfere with normal T-cell function and how T-cell damaging therapy with agents such as fludarabine and Campath can unleash EBV with life-threatening consequences. We also discuss how patients may be able to use a common statin to improve their defenses against this virus.
How to Treat and Manage Infections in CLL
Infectious complications are the major cause of mortality in CLL and affect the quality of life of most patients. The best practices in managing infections have changed over time, tracking our knowledge of the molecular mechanisms at work and reflecting the nature of the therapies used to treat the CLL itself. In our article Infectious Complications of CLL, we review the latest expert findings. We also highlight the need for patients to be actively involved in discussing these best practices with their local oncologists, to ensure that they receive appropriate care.
Caution on EPO
The Dark Side of Epoetin - Getting Darker
Be Careful What You Ask For !
The results of a new meta study have been published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The authors find additional reasons to question the usage of high doses of epoetin drugs to achieve "normal" levels of hemoglobin. Biases in earlier studies may have understated the problems. We present our review in The Dark Side of EPO - Getting Darker.
Oral Mucositis Can Be Deadly
A Real Pain in the Mouth
Many CLL patients experience painful sores and infections in their mouths, especially when they go through chemotherapy. This incidence of 'oral mucositis' can have serious consequences to the quality of life and even survival of these patients. There may be a few things you can do to help yourself - read about them in A Real Pain in the Mouth.
AIHA: Auto-Immune Hemolytic Anemia
Causes and Mechanisms - and Strategies to Deal with It
AHIA affects a significant part of the CLL population, particularly those with advanced disease. Understanding the causes of the disorder is critical to dealing with it. In AIHA: Auto-Immune Hemolytic Anemia, we review the relevant research and make some suggestions.
Dying to Get a Tan?
The Danger of Squamous Cell Carcinoma in CLL Patients
Things You Can Do to Avoid SCC
If you have CLL, you have a much higher chance of getting squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), the second most common skin cancer. Further, CLL patients who contract this disease are more likely to have an aggressive form of the disease. We examine some of the possible mechanisms for the onset of this cancer and review a number of steps you can take to protect yourself including a few things you can discuss with your doctor that may help. Click here to read Dying to Get a Tan?
The Dark Side of Epoetin
Study Links EPO Drugs to Promotion of Angiogenesis, Tumor Growth and Shorter Survival
The Unanticipated Side Effects of Epoetin
A very recent study casts light on some negative aspects of epoetin therapy. In addition to the desired effect of a rapid increase in red blood cells and hemoglobin and an improvement in quality of life, these drugs have now been shown in a carefully designed study to promote significant angiogenesis and tumor growth. Our November 22 article, The Dark Side of Epoetin, gives you an overview of the research on this aspect of an important supporting therapy.
A Growth Factor for Platelets
In this article, Neumega: Treatment of Thrombocytopenia, we discuss a growth factor for platelets.
Need and Consequences
A badly infiltrated spleen sometimes has to be removed so that the patient can survive. In Splenectomy, we discuss the circumstances in which this procedure may be applied, its consequences and the surgical techniques used.
Immunoglobulins and Infections
There is a direct link between susceptibility to infection and the level of immunoglobulins in a patient's body - which in turn is affected by CLL, a dysfunction of the immune system. In Hypogammaglobulinemia, we discuss the effects of low immunoglobulin levels and the use of intravenous immnoglobulin (IVIg) injections as a treatment for this condition.
Drug Induced Complications
Drug Interactions Can Be Complex
Keeping Track of Prescriptions
Prescription drugs are employed as therapy in a wide range of conditions. They can have multi-faceted effects and interact in unpredictable ways. They can also induce chronic and sometimes dangerous conditions in patients. In Prescription Drug Induced Complications, we examine some of the problems that can be precipitated by prescription drugs.
CLL Predisposes Patients to Other Cancers
Mutagenic Therapies and Failure of Immune Surveillance
CLL patients have a much higher risk of being diagnosed with certain secondary cancers than the population in general. Our article titled Secondary Cancers takes a detailed look at this aspect of CLL.
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