▶ Watch Video: U.S. cancer drug shortage a cause for alarm for chemo patients

Chattanooga, Tennessee — Carol Noon has an aggressive form of endometrial cancer. It’s treatable, but there is no time to waste. 

Due to a drug shortage, she told CBS News “there’s no guarantee” that the life-saving chemotherapy drugs she needs will be available throughout the course of her treatment.

The night before her second dose of chemotherapy, the 61-year-old Noon received a call from her doctor to inform her that the hospital had run out of her treatment. Thankfully, Noon got her dose a week later.

“I think it’s an emotional rollercoaster,” Noon said. “It’s very frustrating to know that there’s a standard of care, these two generic drugs, and I can’t get them.”

She said her doctors are “frustrated. “We’re not sure what the next steps are. And we’re just hoping there’s gonna be treatment available.”

Patients like Noon are given carboplatin and cisplatin, generic medications that aren’t profitable for manufacturers to produce — and few are made in the U.S.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the international supply chain for cancer medications has been strained and the situation has become dire. Food and Drug Administration inspectors found “widespread problems” at a factory in India that makes more than half of the U.S. supply of cisplatin. 

In March, the FDA reported that Pluvicto — a drug used to treat advanced prostate cancer — is in short supply. Pluvicto is only manufactured in Italy.

And the issue isn’t just limited to cancer drugs. A report also released in March by the Senate Homeland Security Committee found that 295 drugs were in short supply in the U.S. last year, marking a five-year high.

“We had to make some decisions about who we were going to prioritize during this difficult time,” said oncologist Dr. Kari Wisinski with the University of Wisconsin Health, who told CBS News she had never seen a shortage this serious. 

“The question is, could people die because of this shortage?” Wisinksi asked. “I think it all depends on how long it occurred. If we experienced a prolonged shortage of chemotherapy, then yes, I do think people could die.”

In response, the FDA last month temporarily began importing cisplatin from a Chinese drug manufacturer Qilu Pharmaceutical, which is not FDA approved.

“Someday, I’m gonna die,” Noon said. “I really would rather not die because these standard generic drugs weren’t available to me. And I can’t imagine being in that position and questioning what happened, my family having that doubt and my friends having that doubt. Was it the cancer, or was it that there was not enough chemotherapy and it got rationed.”