Using VP160 on a 79 year old father for his lung cancer

1 answer | Last updated: Jun 21, 2010
Mikeljoe47 asked...

My father has lung cancer. He's 79. They're proposing using VP16 carbo, 3 days in a row. What should I expect?

Expert Answers

Senior Editor Melanie Haiken, who is responsible for's coverage of cancer, general health, and family finance, discovered how important it is to provide accurate, targeted, usable health information to people facing difficult decisions.

Etoposide, the drug in VP-16, is commonly used for lung cancer. This drug is known to suppress the bone marrow, which means it tends to lower blood counts dramatically. Your father may suffer a decline in red blood cells and in platelets, which can cause fatigue, weakness, and bleeding, and in white blood cells, which puts him at risk for infection.

Etoposide is often used in combination with other chemo agents such as carboplatin. Ask your father's doctor for the names of all the chemotherapy drugs he'll be taking, and make sure she explains what to expect both now and down the line in the coming weeks and months.