Effects of Cancer-Related Anemia on Clinical and Quality-of-Life Outcomes
Significant progress has been made in the prevention and management of many symptoms associated with cancer and its therapy. However, cancer-related anemia, which may affect more than half of all patients with cancer, often is assessed and treated inadequately. Severe anemia not only causes significant symptomology but also may impair functional status and quality of life. In addition, anemia has been found to affect treatment outcomes, including disease-free and overall survival. Therapeutic strategies, based on the underlying etiology of anemia, include iron supplementation, blood transfusion, and administration of recombinant human erythropoietin. Future approaches may involve novel agents under investigation that are designed to address current concerns related to efficacy, convenience, and possible cost-effectiveness of treatment of cancer-related anemia.