Talk:Chemotherapy

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Table of agents[edit]

Fuse809 (talk · contribs) added a huge comprehensive table that summarises almost everything there is to know about chemotherapy.[1] Just a few questions:

  • Do we need to list monoclonal antibodies and other targeted therapy here? Technically it's not chemotherapy and this might need to be moved elsewhere.
  • Do we need references for the use of cladribine in multiple sclerosis? My feeling is that we should restrict ourselves to antineoplastic use.
  • Some columns are sourced entirely to three sources (Australian Medicines Compendium, BNF and Goodman & Gillman). Can we be certain that the information in these columns is verifiably present in all three sources?

Otherwise nothing but praise for this! Please make sure that it gets updated when new sources become available. JFW | T@lk 10:05, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Firstly, it's not Australian Medicines Compendium, it's Australian Medicines Handbook. Secondly, I also used the reviews I referenced, I just giving them as general references. I was hoping that wiki would have an antineoplastic page, as it would be more applicable to this table, but apparently not. I listed other uses as most chemotherapeutics have more than just cancer as their uses. Plus I also listed other targeted agents in this table besides monoclonal antibodies. Fuse809 (talk) 10:10, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Monoclonal antibodies might not be "technically" chemotherapy, but I think this article is becoming a bit more like "drugs of any sort used to kill cancer cells" than "small molecule drugs used to kill cancer cells", and in that case, it's okay. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:37, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

Alternative to chemotherapy[edit]

Recent findings show that Papaya (carica papaya) leaf extract is working to destroy cancer cells and that is not given the way usual chemotherapy medicines are give but it is consumed orally. I want to know can that information be added in this article? Naming it oral chemotherapy? Pathare Prabhu (talk) 15:23, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

There are a few papers that describe the investigation of papaya in the treatment of cancer. This is a review paper from 2013. However there is nothing beyond anecdotal or in vitro evidence. It is not appropriate to add information about papaya to this article. (It might become appropriate in the future if secondary sources describe benefit in humans.) Axl ¤ [Talk] 20:00, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Pathare Prabhu, you could probably list the papaya leaf extract (using the 2013 review that Axl mentioned) at Experimental cancer treatments. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:41, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

The term chemotherapy[edit]

If non-oncological uses of the word 'chemotherapy' are archaic, then...

(a) why do the National Institutes of Health currently refer to 'cancer chemotherapy' (as opposed to just 'chemotherapy') on their website [2]?

(b) why do some of the world's most prestigious anti-infectives journals use the word 'chemotherapy' in their titles eg. Oxford Journals' Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy [3], ASM's Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy [4], Karger's Chemotherapy [5]?

(c) why do some of the world's most prestigious universities and research institutions use terms like 'antibacterial chemotherapy' (eg. University of Rome [6], John Innes Centre [7], University College London [8], Harry Lime Institute for Penicillin Research [9]) and 'antimicrobial chemotherapy' (eg. University of Amsterdam [10], University of Florida [11], Eberhard-Karls-University [12], Creighton University [13])?

(d) why does the Merriam-Webster dictionary define chemotherapy as 'the use of chemical agents in the treatment or control of disease or mental disorder' [14] and not something like 'the use of chemical agents in the treatment or control of cancer (and previously other diseases)'?

This is an outrageous attempt by Wikipedia's oncologists to hijack a word.

Sort it out. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Forgot my freakin password (talkcontribs) 06:23, 29 May 2014‎

Sure, and have you heard anyone say, "I've got a headache, I think I'll take some chemotherapy for it... where's that bottle of aspirin gotten to?"
Wikipedia isn't trying to redefine the word, or even to provide a list of all the possible definitions. The subject of this page is drugs that (hopefully) kill cancer cells. The most WP:COMMONNAME for this subject is chemotherapy. We have added additional information about other (English-language) uses, just in case someone ends up here and is totally confused by one of these other, older, and distinctly uncommon uses of the term, but that's not the subject of the page. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:43, 29 May 2014 (UTC)


Hi there,

I've never heard anyone say "I've got a headache, I think I'll take some chemotherapy for it... where's that bottle of aspirin gotten to?"

Nor have I heard anyone say "Can you please pass me a tissue? I've got rhinorrhea." or "I'd like to buy some plastic socks for my son in case he gets a papilloma infection at the swimming pool." or "Can you wear a longer pair of swimming trunks next time you come to the pool, sir? Your macropenis keeps popping out of those speedos."

That's not because these words are archaic (not unless Wikipedia has changed the meaning of the word 'archaic'). It's because they're medical terms.

The changes I suggested previously eg. "Cancer chemotherapy (generally abbreviated to 'chemotherapy', 'chemo', or sometimes 'CTX' or 'CTx')..." (edit 610466434) were based on sourced references. The statements in the current version of the article ("this use has become archaic", "was historically used" etc) are not.

Please sort it out already.

Thanks,

Forgot my freakin password (talk) 12:19, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

Everyone has got hold of a body part, and no one is wrong. Everyone has an excellent point! Which is not entirely undermined by anyone else's point! A very merry unbirthday to all! Switch places! Quercus solaris (talk) 15:05, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
I've heard the rhinnorhea one, and I have also been subjected to a long speech from a middle-aged construction worker about how he was too disabled to work because hay fever gave him rhinitis. He seemed to think that this was some sort of severe and unusual problem.
The recent changes to the lead are WP:LEAD violations. The purpose of the lead is to tell people what this page is about. If they want to know all possible definitions for a word, then they need to use a dictionary. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:13, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Ah, the old dodge of using the valid principle of "topics not words" (a part of the truth) to shirk dealing with a valid ontological conflict (the rest of the truth) in pagenaming. It happens again and again. The successful stable-version solutions ultimately never end up being to try to hide heads in the sand and pretend the word sense conflict doesn't exist (which is what your recent edit does, which is why it won't be a stable version). Despite the valid fact that ledes and articles are about topics not words, the ontology has to be handled, and it always gets handled to the extent of not having Wikipedia try to assert, restrict, or deny what the definition of a word is, in conflict with dictionaries. Even if a lede must briefly touch use-mention. The other word senses do get mentioned, as briefly as practical and somehow, whether it is via a hatnote, disambig, or a few sentences of mention-vs-use. I do appreciate that the latter is best not placed in the opening paragraph. But it does often exist within a lede, down lower; noses are held and existence is suffered, with an implication of "keep it concise and get it over with ASAP", when it's the least ridiculous and least ungainly option that actually handles the ontology correctly. So some permutation of those sentences will be needed. And there are hundreds of WP articles that arrive at a similar balance (so the idea that this one can't/won't, because a policy can be cited [topics not words], is not any final word). Quercus solaris (talk) 18:02, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS is a lousy excuse for putting unimportant (to this subject) information in the lead. An encyclopedia is not a dictionary. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:02, 1 June 2014 (UTC)

Hi Quercus solaris and WhatamIdoing,

Many thanks for taking my concern seriously, and for all your hard work resolving the issue. I think the revisions look great... especially the little hatnote making clear that the article is about cancer chemotherapy. It's very much appreciated.

Regarding the sentence "Chemotherapeutic treatment of cancer is provided with one or more anti-cancer drugs...", I suggest this be changed to "This type of cancer treatment involves administration of one or more anti-cancer drugs...". I know the phrase "chemotherapeutic treatment" has been used many times on the internet (nearly 100,000 according to google), but it sounds odd (to my ears anyway). My feeling is that the word "treatment" is redundant because it is implied by the suffix "-therapeutic".

I'll leave it in your capable hands though. My main concern has been more than adequately addressed.

Thanks,

Forgot my freakin password (talk) 13:16, 1 June 2014 (UTC)

Good idea. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:02, 1 June 2014 (UTC)
Agreed, good idea. Sorry if I came across as crabby, I wasn't trying to do that—if the idea of the current version of the hatnote had occurred to me earlier, I would have just edited to suit and not said anything. I kind of had to work my way through it the hard way to figure out how to handle it. The lesson for me is, next time I encounter an instance like this (which do crop up occasionally), think "hatnote first" before trying to write any kind of explication. Thanks for bearing with me everyone. Quercus solaris (talk) 17:21, 1 June 2014 (UTC)
You're forgiven. Face-wink.svg
I feel compelled to point out that there are a handful of people who loathe hatnotes, though. (Perhaps that's true of just about everything on the English Wikipedia? Whatever you do, someone will tell you that you're doing it wrong.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:10, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Requested move 6 April 2015[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was not moved. --BDD (talk) 14:18, 9 May 2015 (UTC)

ChemotherapyChemotherapy (cancer treatment) – Having only the cancer treatment under the plain title "chemotherapy" is highly misleading. Chemotherapy is by definition the use of chemical agents in medical treatment, and the term is used particularly for two major, well-established fields of treatment, the cancer treatment (chemotherapy against tumors) and antimicrobial chemotherapy (chemotherapy against infections). The article "chemotherapy" should be either a disambiguation page or an article that addresses "chemotherapy" more broadly, i.e. the broader concept which includes both the oncological and the antimicrobial fields of treatment.

As mentioned on the talk page by others, there are several well-established journals in the field of antimicrobial chemotherapy, for example Karger's journal Chemotherapy, which covers both the cancer treatment and antiinfective chemotherapy. Bjerrebæk (talk) 14:52, 6 April 2015 (UTC)

  • Rename Bjerrebæk (talk) 14:52, 6 April 2015 (UTC) (as nominator)
  • Support as similar to britannica and others GregKaye 01:44, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:COMMONNAME to most of the public and medical practitioers alike, 'chemotherapy' is taken to mean in terms of cancer. --Tom (LT) (talk) 09:42, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
    • That has nothing to do with WP:COMMONNAME, when there are two established fields known as chemotherapy. Noone denies that the COMMONNAME as such of the cancer treatment is chemotherapy, but that does not necessarily make it the primary topic of the plain word "chemotherapy". The COMMONNAME policy only addresses the part before the parenthesis, not whether a parenthesis is necessary to disambiguate it from other articles. The fact that some readers may be ignorant about or have little knowledge of the antimicrobial form of chemotherapy doesn't make the cancer treatment the primary topic. Most people are not physicians and have limited knowledge of medical treatment and medical terms anyway. The question needs to be judged on the basis of solid sources, such as medical publications and terminology, names of journals in the field(s) and so forth. It has already been established that chemotherapy is a highly established name, used for over a century, of the antimicrobial treatment as well, and that chemotherapy hence is widely used for two very established fields, not one. Bjerrebæk (talk) 11:31, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Support, but not because the current setup is egregiously horrible—just that I think WP would be slightly better if this article were called "chemotherapy (cancer treatment)" and "chemotherapy" redirected here, with a hatnote to escape to the other senses (microbial chemotherapy or any other pharmacotherapy). A redirect is more in line with established WP best practice than if "chemotherapy" was a disambig. Why? Because realistically, most traffic will be looking for the cancer treatment sense. Thus, for example, (A) "Miami" should land you on the article for Miami, Florida, regardless of whether (B1) by redirect (with hatnote to escape to the other senses) or (B2) because that article is named with that page name. Virtually everyone agrees with point A. As for points B1-B2, there's no clear winner on Wikipedia—wins and losses happen on a case-by-case basis. Virtually everyone agrees that if you're going to call the article on Miami, Florida, "Miami, Florida", then page name "Miami" should be a redirect there (with hatnote to handle the objections) rather than being a disambig page, because probably most of the traffic wants to get there, and the disambig two-step can feel like misplaced emphasis to a user. "No, of course I didn't mean Miami, Timbuktu. Of course I meant Miami, Florida. Why didn't you just redirect me there and give me a hatnote to escape if need be." As for point B2, personally I would prefer B1 instead, but the Wikipedian community has always included a large portion that pushes for B2. At the end of the day, B2 isn't viscerally revolting—it's just, meh, not as good. As for "or an article that addresses "chemotherapy" more broadly", it is a good idea in theory but it would have to fork the content of other articles too much (this one, antimicrobial ones, pharmacotherapy) to make it viable as a separate article. One other comment. Whatever we end up with, the content currently at chemotherapy > The term chemotherapy needs to be retained somewhere on Wikipedia—probably the pharmacotherapy article if not here. Quercus solaris (talk) 22:15, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment. I am definitely in favour of having a general definition in the article about chemotherapy. Vlādis Mānisqā (talk) 06:17, 14 April 2015 (UTC).
  • Oppose per User:LT910001. I think the primary topic and well understood usage for this term is overwhelmingly the cancer treatment, and we are an encyclopedia, not a scientific or medical journal. Hatnotes are sufficient to explain the difference and take users to the other definition if they really want it.  — Amakuru (talk) 15:24, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose - I would have to completely disagree with this RM. Chemotherapy is the common name for this topic. This is reflected very well within medical literature. Even when doctors discuss Chemotherapy amongst each other or with their patients, the understanding always is that of cancer treatment. That covers literature, use among doctors and also patients. This is also the primary topic. The general public or the layperson only understands chemotherapy to be the cancer treatment. No patient has ever asked their physician to qualify what they mean by Chemotherapy in regards to it being a form unrelated to that of cancer treatment. Mbcap (talk) 23:43, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose as per all opposition above. It is the wrong direction, to move to title the more expected meaning more obscurely. Pandeist (talk) 05:22, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose but I'm sympathetic to the desire for better information about other uses of the term. (I believe that I'm the person who originally added the material about oncological use not being the only possible use of the term.) Hearing people claim to be taking "chemo" when they're actually taking hormones also irritates me, so I'm definitely in the more-pedantic group by default. But in English (perhaps not in other languages), if someone says he's taking chemotherapy, he almost always means that he's treating cancer. It might not actually be chemotherapy, technically, but it is going to be an anti-neoplastic treatment at least 99% of the time, and the other (<1%) times, he means that he's taking a drug that is commonly used for cancer treatment, but for some other purpose (generally an autoimmune disease). This is the common name, in daily use, in English. It's what almost every English speaker means when they use the unqualified word, which makes it the primary topic. We should leave this here, while still educating the readers about other uses. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:53, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.