In July this year a thought-provoking paper was published in respected medical journal The Lancet, one that helped define the idea of ‘unacceptable toxicity’ of treatment.
A total of 21 severe toxicities were defined. They’re characterised as severe adverse health conditions that substantially and negatively affect daily life and are difficult or impossible to treat, or require substantially invasive treatment.
The list included refractory seizures, blindness and cardiac issues that lead to a need for cardiac transplantation.
“What the paper was trying to do was define the side effects of therapy that if you knew you would suffer from one of them as a result of being treated,you might have thought twice about actually having the therapy in the first place,” says Associate Professor Rachel Conyers, a paediatric, adolescent and young adult malignant haematologist oncologist.
Read more: Behind the science: Dr Rachel Conyers.
Dr Conyers, also a Clinician Scientist at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, was part of the Ponte De Legno Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia Toxicity Working Group who co-authored the paper, titled Severe toxicity free survival: physician-derived definitions of unacceptable long-term toxicities following acute lymphocytic leukaemia, with an international working group of researchers.