What Bleomycin is and what it is used for?
- Bleomycin is classified as an anticancer antibiotic. This medicine inhibits DNA and RNA synthesis, thus stopping cell replication and eventually causing cell death. This cell damage slows and stops the growth of cancer cells in the body.
- Bleomycin is used to treat Hodgkin's lymphoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, testicular cancer, ovarian cancer, and squamous cell cancers of cervix, head and neck, nasopharynx, penis and vulva.
- Bleomycin is also used to treat malignant pleural effusion, an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the pleural space.
How Bleomycin is given?
- Bleomycin is given as an infusion into a vein over 10 minutes.
- Bleomycin is also can be delivered directly into the pleural cavity (the space between the lining of the lung and the chest wall) by a catheter.
What should I know while receiving Bleomycin?
- Do not receive this drug when you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Men and women should use effective contraception during treatment and for at least 3 months after the treatment ends.
- Bleomycin may affect fertility. You can talk to your doctor about methods of preserving fertility before treatment starts.
- Do not receive any kind of vaccination without doctor's approval.
- You will have regular blood tests to make sure you have enough blood cells and have adequate heart functions to receive bleomycin. The timing and dosing of your treatment may be changed based on the test results or side effects.
- There are many drugs may affect how bleomycin works. Tell your doctor about all the medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
- The existing health problems may affect the use of bleomycin. You should let your doctor know if you have any other medical problems, especially if you have liver, kidney, lung or breathing problems.
Common side effects
- Mouth sore
Your doctor can give you medicines that help you ease the discomfort. Good mouth care will help prevent mouth sores.
- Skin reactions
Symptoms include redness, darkening or thickening of the skin. Tell your doctor about any skin changes that you have. Your doctor can give you medicines and advices that help you feel better.
- Changes in nail
The color or shape of nails may change and the nails may also become brittle or crack. The nails usually grow back slowly once the treatment is over.
- Hair loss
It may begin 2-3 weeks after your first treatment. Hair growth should return after treatment has finished.
Less common side effects
- Nausea and vomiting
Medicines may be given before the treatment to prevent it happening. Eating and drinking often in small amounts may reduce the discomfort.
- Loss of appetite
Try to eat in small quantities and have frequent meals. If your appetite does not get any better after a few days, tell your doctor.
- Inflammation of the vein
Tell your nurse right away if you get pain, tenderness or redness at the place where the injection is given or along the vein.
- Changes in lung function
Tell your doctor if you develop difficulty breathing with wheezing and coughing or there is any existing breathing problems get worse.
- Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water every day during treatment can help make your recovery a smoother process.
- Alcohol and cigarettes may interfere with certain medicines or worsen side effects from chemotherapy treatment. It is wise to avoid alcohol and cigarette smoking during cancer treatment. If you have any problem about drinking alcohol and smoking, you should check with your doctor.