Breast cancer can strike the healthiest person, and it can strike a person who already has a pre-existing condition. This can include diabetes or heart conditions. When this occurs, the treatment guidelines may have to be modified to address these concerns.
Your health care practitioner will already be aware of any pre-existing conditions that you have, because these will have been revealed in the medical history information. He will use this information to determine the best course of treatment.
If you have both diabetes and breast cancer, you are considered to be comorbid. This means you have a disease or condition that is not related to the other disease. Because of this, your diabetes will need to be monitored closely, especially when you are receiving drugs besides those specifically related to your cancer treatments, such as drugs to counteract side effects of chemotherapy.
Steroidal drugs are often used to treat nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy for breast cancer. Steroids can cause your blood sugar levels to fluctuate, either becoming too high or too low. If this occurs, your insulin dosages may need to be adjusted to correct the levels.
Continue to closely monitor your blood sugar levels, and keep track of the readings so you can tell your health care practitioners each time you go for treatment.
Certain chemotherapy drugs may affect a pre-existing heart condition. Tykerb® and Herceptin® are two such drugs. Your doctor will discuss this with you and determine if the benefits of the chemotherapy drugs outweigh the potential risks of worsening the already-present heart condition.
Follow your doctor’s instructions concerning increasing your dosage or frequency of taking your heart medication. Keep him informed of any changes in your heart rate or rhythm that you are aware of.
The Mayo Clinic defines lupus as a chronic inflammatory disease whereby your body attacks your own tissues and organs. When you have lupus and are diagnosed with breast cancer, your lupus treatment may have to be altered so that you can receive the treatment you need for the breast cancer. The type of chemotherapy you receive may have to be changed, or you may not be able to receive certain types at all.
However, because chemotherapy also treats lupus, you may be able to come off of your medications for lupus while you are undergoing treatment. If this occurs, continue to keep your doctor informed on how your lupus symptoms are doing, so that he can determine if they are responding to the chemotherapy as well.
These are only three pre-existing conditions that may exist. However, pre-existing conditions will have a bearing on breast cancer treatment.
If your pre-existing condition already causes extreme fatigue or weakness, for instance, you will need to consider that chemotherapy and radiation treatments often do the same. If you take medication for your pre-existing that specifically addresses these issues, and you have to alter the dosage or discontinue it completely while undergoing breast cancer treatment, you may notice an increase in the symptoms as you undergo chemotherapy.
You will have to consider both your breast cancer treatments and your treatments for your pre-existing condition from all angles. Your doctor can give you the information you need to make a decision.
WarningsYou must tell your doctor if your pre-existing condition seems to be worsening, especially when you first begin breast cancer treatments. Keep your doctor informed of any changes or unusually severe symptoms related to your pre-existing condition as they occur, or as soon as you notice them.