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Dr. Scot Ackerman Joins WJXT to Discuss Current Shortages in Cancer Medications

Ackerman Cancer Center

June 20, 2023

Dr. Scot Ackerman joined the WJXT Team yesterday to discuss the current shortage of cancer medications, Cisplatin and Carboplatin, and how this shortage is affecting cancer patients and their treatment.

Cisplatin and carboplatin, commonly used and crucial chemotherapy drugs, used to be as widely available as aspirin but now 70% to 90% of doctors in the United States that treat cancer have reported difficulty getting these medications for their patients. Both of these medications are used in the treatment of various types of cancer, including ovarian, lung, testicular, and bladder cancers. They are often integral components of standard treatment protocols.

This shortage can significantly impact patients’ lives by potentially delaying or compromising their treatment plans. Chemotherapy cycles need to be administered in a timely manner to achieve the best possible outcomes.

The potential consequences of disrupted chemotherapy cycles are disease progression, reduced treatment efficacy, and decreased survival rates.


Carboplatin is an anticancer medication that belongs to the class of drugs known as platinum-containing compounds. It exerts its anticancer effects by interfering with the DNA in cancer cells, therefore inhibiting cell division and replication. By preventing cancer cells from multiplying, carboplatin helps to slow down or stop the growth of tumors.

Carboplatin is effective against a wide range of cancer types. It is often used in combination with other chemotherapy drugs to enhance treatment outcomes. The benefits of carboplatin include decreased risk of kidney toxicity, hearing loss, and nerve damage. The dosage will depend on several factors, including the type and stage of cancer, a patient’s overall health, and any underlying medical conditions.

Carboplatin is often administered intravenously in outpatient settings, making it more convenient for patients who do not require hospitalization for their chemotherapy sessions. This allows individuals to receive treatment and continue with their daily activities, reducing the burden of hospital visits and potential disruptions to their routines.


Cisplatin is also an anticancer medication that belongs to the class of drugs known as platinum-containing compounds. It exerts its anticancer effects by preventing DNA replication and cell division. This ultimately leads to the destruction of cancer cells and the inhibition of tumor growth.

Cisplatin has shown significant curative potential, particularly in certain cancers such as testicular cancer. It has been a key factor in the successful treatment of testicular cancer, leading to high cure rates, even in advanced stages of the disease. It also leads to significant tumor shrinkage and control of the disease, increasing the chances of long-term survival and improving the quality of life for patients.

Cisplatin is commonly employed as neoadjuvant therapy, where it is used before surgery or radiation to shrink tumors and facilitate more effective surgical removal. Additionally, it is used as adjuvant therapy after surgery or radiation to eradicate any remaining cancer cells and reduce the risk of recurrence.

Health System Challenges Due to Shortage

Hospitals, clinics, and oncology centers may struggle to secure an adequate supply of carboplatin and cisplatin for their patients. This shortage can cause a potential strain on healthcare resources, as it may lead to increased demand for alternative treatments or medications, requiring adjustments to treatment plans and potentially higher costs.

If you or a loved one is receiving chemotherapy and have any concerns, speak with your healthcare provider about your treatment options.

To view the full segment on WJXT with Dr. Scot Ackerman, click the link below:



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