Doxorubicin (Adriamycin) Side Effects and Stories | The Patient Story

Doxorubicin (Adriamycin) Side Effects & Stories

Doxorubicin is a type of chemotherapy drug used in many different cancer treatments, including breast cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia, and sarcoma.

Below, you’ll find highlighted patient quotes about doxorubicin (Adriamycin), and then a full list of our patient experiences with the drug.


Breast Cancer Stories

Margaret Abe-Koga, IDC & DCIS, 2B

“I didn’t really feel a whole lot during the treatment. The Adriamycin-cyclophosphamide was actually fine. Most people actually say that’s the harder one and I did not feel many side effects. I really think I was lucky that the AC didn’t hit me that hard.

It’s just this feeling of fuzziness in your head that you have and the queasiness in the stomach. That and then some fatigue so just not feeling like I really wanted to get out of bed and do much was how I felt.”

Tina Conrad, Ductal & Lobular Carcinoma In Situ, 3A, ER+

“I did four rounds of Cytoxan and Adriamycin, or the Red Devil, which is the really tough kind. They have to test your heart just to make sure it’s strong enough before they give you that stuff.”

Hodgkin Lymphoma Stories

Lia Sartorio, Classical, 4A

“What’s ironic is, I never actually lost my hair. That’s super rare because I heard the adriamycin is 99-percent supposed to cause hair loss. I guess I didn’t have to buzz it, but oh well. No one could’ve known.”

Leukemia Stories

Lauren Johnson, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)

“The red devil made me very nauseous. I dealt with it via ginger chews. I chewed a lot of ginger chews. My mom went and bought me bags and bags. I also did a lot of smoothies that contained ginger, as well. 

The part that freaked me out is that it turns your urine that ugly color, a red-orange kind of color. I remember I was so open on my Facebook page, I took a picture of it in the little urine hat and being like, ‘Y’all, look at this! What is happening to me?'”

Sarcoma Stories

Demi Demas, Desmoid Tumor

“I did the IV chemo for almost a year. Everything was good. I was continuing scans throughout the entire process. The cancer wasn’t shrinking, but it was losing circulation. The cancer was dying. We were having pretty good results, but I reached my limits on Adriamycin.”


All Doxorubicin Patient Experiences

Mantle Cell Lymphoma Stories: Stage 4, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma| Sheryl’s Story

Sheryl Brian, Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL), Stage 4



1st Symptoms: (Over 15 years) Skin irritation from temperature changes, rising WBC levels, unexplained fatigue, retinal hemorrhage, hardened abdomen (from enlarged spleen)
Treatment: 6 cycles Hyper-CVAD chemotherapy
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Mara Thrasher, Stage 2BX (Bulky Disease) | The Patient Story

Mara Thrasher, Stage 2BX (Bulky)



1st Symptoms: Shortness of breath, back pains, daily migraines
Treatment: 3 rounds of ABVD, 3 rounds AVD, Radiation
Topics: Self-advocacy, mental health
Sarcoma Stories:  Synovial Sarcoma, Stage 1B, Soft Tissue Sarcoma | Kara Ladd

Kara Ladd, Synovial Sarcoma, Stage 1B



1st Symptoms: Pain behind left knee, needle-like sensation in left foot
Treatment: Surgery to remove what was thought to be benign tumor, chemotherapy, final surgery, radiation (36 sessions)
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Stage 3B, Classical | Erica’s Story

Erica Hernandez, Hodgkin's, Stage 3B



Cancer details: Staged at 3B
1st Symptoms: Intense itchiness, fatigue, night sweats, weight loss
Treatment:ABVD chemotherapy, 6 cycles (12 infusions)
Sarcoma Stories: Ewing Sarcoma, Stage 1B | Brandi’s Story

Brandi Benson,
Ewing Sarcoma,
Stage 1B (Soft Tissue)




Cancer Details: Adult case of soft tissue Ewing sarcoma, not bone sarcoma
1st Symptoms: Extreme fatigue, lump in pelvic area
Treatment: 17 cycles of chemotherapy in-patient at hospital with (leg-sparing) surgery in between
Sarcoma Stories:  Ewing Sarcoma (Bone)| Ariane’s Story

Ariane Boyer, Ewing Sarcoma (Bone)



Cancer details: Most common in kids, young adults (teens through mid-20s)
1st Symptoms: Aching in arm, lump in forearm
Treatment: Chemo (14 rounds), surgery (of radius), radiation (36 sessions)
Sarcoma Stories: Soft Tissue Sarcoma, Desmoid Tumor, AYA Cancer | Demi DeMas

Demi DeMas, Desmoid Tumor



Cancer details: Rare, <3% of all soft tissue tumors, more common in women
1st Symptoms: fatigue, lump in hip
Treatment: Surgery, radiation, chemo
Leukemia Stories: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), B-Cell, PH- | Veronica Balanza

Veronica Balanza, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)




1st symptoms: Mild shortness of breath and palpitations
Treatment: Chemo, targeted therapy, double cord transplant
Leukemia Story: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), Relapse | Casey Head

Casey Head, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)




1st symptoms:
Lump on throat, extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, bruising easily
Treatment:
Chemo, immunotherapy, radiation, stem cell transplant
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Classical, Nodular Sclerosis, Stage 4A | Lia Sartorio

Lia Sartorio, Nodular Sclerosis, Stage 4A



Cancer details: Most common and most treatable form of Hodgkin's lymphoma
1st Symptoms:
Extreme lower back pain
Treatment:
ABVD chemotherapy
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Stage 4, Classical | CC’s Story

CC Webster, Hodgkin's, Stage 4



Cancer details: Diagnosed at 29, misdiagnosed as mono
1st Symptoms: Achiness, extreme fatigue, reactive rash on chest and neck. Later: chills, night sweats
Treatment: ABVD chemotherapy (6 cycles)
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Stage 3A, Refractory to Gray Zone Lymphoma | Kayla Tremblett

Kayla Tremblett, Hodgkin's, Stage 3A



Cancer details: Possibly misdiagnosed the first time; later diagnosed as grey zone lymphoma
1st Symptoms: Pulled muscle in chest
Treatment: ABVD chemo, radiation, high-dose chemo, stem cell transplant
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Classical, Stage 3, Relapse | Tylere Presley

Tylere Presley, Hodgkin, Stage 3



Cancer details: Mother is a nurse practitioner; suspected cancer
1st Symptoms: Swollen lymph nodes in neck
Treatment: Clinical trial; Chemotherapy, BMT
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Jade Blouin, Classical, Stage 2X (Bulky Disease) | The Patient Story

Jade Blouin, Hodgkin, Stage 2X



Cancer details: Diagnosed at 21 years old
1st Symptoms: Itchy legs and feet
Treatment: ABVD chemotherapy (4 treatments), AVD (remaining treatments)
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Katee Petro, Classical, Stage 2B | The Patient Story

Katee Petro, Hodgkin, Stage 2B



Cancer details: Accidentally found in x-ray after months of symptoms
1st Symptoms: Night sweats, fatigue, extreme itchiness, persistent cough
Treatment: Clinical trial; AAVD chemo, immunotherapy
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Classical, Stage 2BX, Bulky Disease | Stephanie Ou

Stephanie Ou, Hodgkin's, Stage 2B



Cancer details: Stage 2 with bulky disease
1st Symptoms: Shortness of breath, dry cough
Treatment: Stanford V chemotherapy (12 weeks, 1 infusion each week), radiation (20 days)
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Fabiola Lopez, Stage 2BX (Bulky Disease), Relapse | The Patient Story

Fabiola Lopez, Hodgkin's, Stage 2BX



Cancer details: Stage 2 with bulky disease, relapsed after 1st chemo. Remission after 2nd chemo & bone marrow transplant
1st Symptoms: Shortness of breath, dry cough, fatigue
Treatment: ABVD chemo (6 cycles), IGEV chemo, bone marrow transplant, BEAM chemo, brentuximab
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Wade Winslow, Classical, Stage 2A, AYA Cancer | The Patient Story

Wade Winslow, Hodgkin's, Stage 2A



Cancer details: Diagnosed at 18 years old
1st Symptoms: Enlarged lymph nodes (around neck), diagnosed at 18 years old
Treatment: ABVD chemotherapy (2 cycles), AVD chemotherapy (4 cycles)
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Lauren Chiarello, Stage 2A, Relapse, Nodular Sclerosis | The Patient Story

Lauren Chiarello, Hodgkin's, Stage 2A



Cancer details: Diagnosed at 23 years old with nodular sclerosis, relapsed after 6 months of 1st-line treatment
1st Symptoms: Itchy body, enlarged lymph node over collar bone
Treatment: ABVD chemotherapy and ICE, radiation, and stem cell transplant for relapse
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Helicon Kuan, Classical, Stage 2A | The Patient Story

Helicon Kuan, Hodgkin's, Stage 2A



Cancer details: Found lymphoma cells in adenoid tissue
1st Symptoms: Difficulty breathing with blockage in nose, surgery to remove tissue resulted in discovery of Hodgkin lymphoma cells
Treatment: ABVD chemotherapy (4 cycles), radiation (20 sessions)
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Logan Agee, Stage 2A, Adolescent (AYA) Cancer | The Patient Story

Logan Agee, Hodgkin's, Stage 2A



Cancer details: Diagnosed at age 15
1st Symptoms:
Lump in neck & fatigue
Treatment:
4 cycles of ABVE-PC chemo
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Lani Skelley, Classical, Stage 2 | The Patient Story

Lani Skelley, Hodgkin's, Stage 2



Cancer details: Tumor pressing on heart
1st Symptoms: Appendicitis led to CT scan that found tumor
Treatment: ABVD chemotherapy, 7 cycles
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Danielle Doyle, Classical, Stage 2 | The Patient Story

Danielle Doyle, Hodgkin's, Stage 2



Cancer details: Diagnosed at age 25
1st Symptoms: Swollen lump on right side of neck/chest area, continued to grow
Treatment: ABVD chemotherapy (3 cycles = 6 infusions)
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Nodular Sclerosis, Stage 1B | Madi’s Story

Madi Jones, Hodgkin's, Stage 1B



Cancer details: Most common and most treatable form of Hodgkin lymphoma
1st Symptoms:
Shortness of breath
Treatment:
3 rounds (6 infusions) of ABVD chemo
Breast Cancer Stories: Invasive & Lobular, Stage 3A,  ER+ | Tina’s Story
Tina Conrad, Ductal & Lobular Carcinoma in Situ, Stage 3A, ER+



Cancer details: Both ductal and lobular, estrogen receptor positive. Different than breast cancer Tina’s mom was diagnosed w/ twice.
1st Symptoms: Sunken in nipple of right breast
Treatment: Double mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy
Breast Cancer Stories: IDC & DCIS, Stage 2 | Margaret’s Story

Margaret Abe-Koga IDC & DCIS, Stage 2B



Cancer details: IDC is most common kind of breast cancer. DCIS means cancer has not spread into surrounding breast tissue
1st Symptoms: Pain in left breast, left nipple inverting
Treatment: Double mastectomy, chemo (AC-T), Radiation
Breast Cancer Stories: DCIS, Stage 4, Metastatic, Triple Positive, Grade 2, Relapse Twice | Alison’s Story

Alison Rash, Partially Differentiated DCIS, Stage 4 Metastatic



Cancer details: Triple positive = positive for HER2, estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR)
1st Symptoms: Lump in underarm/breast
Treatment: Chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, targeted therapy
Metastatic Breast Cancer Story: IDC, TNBC (Triple Negative), Stage 2B, Relapse, Stage 4 | Erin’s Story

Erin Cronican, IDC, Triple Negative, Stage 2B/4 Metastatic



Cancer details: Triple negative doesn’t have any receptors commonly found in breast cancer making it harder to treat
1st Symptoms: Pain in breast
Treatment: Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation
Metastatic Breast Cancer Stories: IDC, HER2+, Stage 3, Relapse, Stage 4 | Renee’s Story

Renee Nicholls, IDC, Stage 3, HER2+



Cancer details: IDC is most common kind of breast cancer.
1st Symptoms: Lump in breast
Treatment: chemotherapy, bilateral mastectomy, radiation
Breast Cancer Stories: IDC, Stage 3, Grade 3, Triple Negative (TNBC), BRCA1+ | Stephanie’s  Story

Stephanie Johnson, Stage 3, Triple Negative, BRCA1+



Cancer details: Triple negative doesn’t have any receptors commonly found in breast cancer
1st Symptoms: Lump in left breast
Treatment: Chemotherapy, surgery
Breast Cancer Stories: IDC, Stage 2B, TNBC (Triple Negative), Pregnant with Cancer | Melissa’s Story

Melissa Humphrey, Stage 2B, Triple Negative



Cancer details: Triple negative doesn’t have any receptors commonly found in breast cancer making it harder to treat
1st Symptoms: Lump in left breast
Treatment: Mastectomy, chemotherapy, 2nd mastectomy
Breast Cancer Stories: IDC, Triple +, Stage 3 | Stefanie’s Story

Stefanie Hauser, IDC, Triple Positive, Stage 3



Cancer details: IDC is most common kind of breast cancer. Triple positive = positive for HER2, estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR)
1st Symptoms: Lump in breast
Treatment: chemotherapy, lumpectomy, radiation
Breast Cancer Stories: IDC, Stage 2B, Soft Tissue Sarcoma as 2nd Cancer | Monica’s Story

Monica Hoffman, IDC, Stage 2B



Cancer details: IDC is most common kind of breast cancer.
1st Symptoms: Tightness and lump in left breast
Treatment: Chemotherapy, radiation, surgery
Breast Cancer Stories: IDC, Stage 2B, Grade 2, ER+ | Callie’s Story

Callie Metler-Smith, IDC, Stage 2B, Grade 2, ER+



Cancer Details: ER positive = estrogen receptor positive
1st Symptoms:
Dimpling/lump found on breast
Treatment:
Mastectomy, AC/T chemotherapy, hysterectomy, reconstruction
Breast Cancer Stories: Triple Negative (TNBC), IDC,Stage 2, Grade 3, BRCA1+ | Joy’s Story

Joy Rodgers, IDC, Stage 2, Triple Negative



Cancer details: Triple negative doesn’t have any receptors commonly found in breast cancer making it harder to treat
1st Symptoms: Lump in breast
Treatment: Chemo, double mastectomy, hysterectomy
Breast Cancer Stories: IDC, Stage 2B, ER+, PR+| Caitlin’s Story

Caitlin James, IDC, Stage 2B, ER/PR Positive



Cancer Details: ER/PR positive = estrogen and progesterone receptor positive
1st Symptoms:
Lump found on breast
Treatment:
Lumpectomy, AC/T chemotherapy, radiation, and hormone therapy (Lupron and Anastrozole)
Breast Cancer Stories: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC), Stage 1B | Rachel’s Story

Rachel Yasui, IDC, Stage 1B



Cancer details: IDC is most common kind of breast cancer. Stage 1B.
1st Symptoms: None, caught by delayed mammogram
Treatment: Double mastectomy, neoadjuvant chemotherapy, hormone therapy Tamoxifen
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Primary Mediastinal B-Cell (PMBCL), Stage 2 | Crystal Zunino

Crystal Zunino, Primary Mediastinal (PMBCL), Stage 2



1st Symptoms: Chest pain
Treatment: 6 cycles of R-CHOP chemotherapy