Chemo drugs are in short supply - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Chemo drugs are in short supply

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - Chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancer patients are in critically short supply. Drugs like Taxol save lives, but doctors are struggling to keep them in stock.

Doctors say because these drugs are now generic, it makes them less profitable, resulting in less production. "I'm very grateful to our oncology center and to our hospital here for understanding that this is happening nationwide and that they are doing everything that they can to make sure that we get the treatment that we need," said Breast Cancer Patient Gerriann Kennedy.

31-year-old Kennedy was diagnosed with Breast Cancer back in April. She receives treatment at the Lewis Hall Singletary Oncology Center in Thomasville. "I have three more treatments left after this week and I'll have surgery after that and possibly radiation and than hopefully be completed."

Kennedy says she was a little worried about the Taxol shortage, but Archbold assured her they are fully stocked.

She says cancer patients should never be scared to ask questions. "If it has to do with a shortage, what other treatment options are there? There's questions that they can ask and not being afraid of asking those questions because that's what the doctors are there for."

Kennedy says the internet has been helpful as well as little scary. She suggests speaking with an oncologist instead of asking Jeeves. "Of course that's the first thing that you want to do is to go out and do all the research and find out exactly what it is and find other people who have your same type cancer."

Kennedy says going through this process as any cancer patient is not easy. But she says knowing about the many treatment options gives her hope that a cancer diagnosis no longer has to be a death sentence.

Taxol is one of 196 drugs on a shortage list compiled by the American Society of Health System Pharmacists.

Copyright 2011 WALB. All rights reserved.

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