Clinical Review

Cancer-Related Anemia


Anemia occurs in more than half of patients with cancer and is associated with worse performance status, quality of life, and survival. Anemia is often attributed to the effects of chemotherapy; however, a 2004 European Cancer Anemia Survey reported that 39% of patients with cancer were anemic prior to starting chemotherapy and the incidence of anemia may be as high as 90% in patients on chemotherapy. The pathogenesis of cancer-related anemia is multifactorial; it can be a direct result of cancer invading the bone marrow, or result from the effects of radiation, chemotherapy-induced anemia, chronic renal disease, and cancer-related inflammation leading to functional iron deficiency anemia.

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