What is Chemotherapy? ~ Total Health Solutions (C.C.C.)

What is Chemotherapy?


When we think of cancer treatment, the first thing that comes to mind is chemotherapy. While various cancers are treated in a variety of ways, it is a combination of commonly available options including radiotherapy, surgery to remove the tumor, targeted drugs, etc.


However, chemotherapy is often misunderstood and people fear its name. One of the fundamental purposes behind this is that individuals regularly feature the results of chemotherapy more than its advantages. All in all, how about we know what chemotherapy is?

What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is used in the treatment of cancer. This is a wide variety of drugs that are used in the treatment of cancer. Since cancer is caused by cell division, chemotherapy reduces its dangerous effects by destroying cancer cells. In cases where surgery is used to remove the cancer, which is not effective, the doctor oncologist recommends the treatment of chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy is used along with radiation and minor surgery in the treatment of cancer. It is used to destroy cancer cells that may remain after radiation therapy. Used to reduce the growth of cancer before surgery or radiation therapy. Its treatment is effective in reducing the number of cancer cells in the body and also helps in managing the symptoms of cancer. While chemotherapy is an effective method of treatment, cancer cannot be completely cured. The possibility of recurrence of cancer is always a possibility.

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Why and when is it used?

Cancer cells divide rapidly, and they have a tendency to spread to other parts of the body that are distant from the organ where the cancer originated. Because chemotherapy is injected into a vein of the blood, those drugs are injected into the bloodstream. They work together at every site where cancer is developing, whereas surgery and radiotherapy can be used mainly on the original tissue of the cancer.

What are the different types of chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is a treatment for cancer patients to stop the growth of cancer cells. During this process, cancer cells are killed or stop dividing. When chemotherapy is given by mouth or injected into a vein, the drug enters the cancer cells directly through the bloodstream. There are three significant sorts of chemotherapy:

Neoadjuvant chemotherapy    :It is given before surgery to shrink the size of the tumor.
Adjuvant chemotherapy          : It is used after surgery to reduce the risk of recurrence.
Palliative chemotherapy          : It is used to control cancer but does not help in curing it.
Combined therapy                   : Non-drug therapies are combined with local chemotherapy to achieve better results and limit toxicity.

How is chemotherapy done?

Chemotherapy is an aggressive form of treatment in which the drug attacks and destroys the cancer cells. This form of treatment is administered in several ways. It can be administered intravenously or in tablet form or even injected into the skin to the patient. One cycle of chemotherapy could be given on a daily basis for a week. The patient is then given a rest period of two-three weeks before continuing with another cycle. Hence a cycle can last for 3-4 weeks. However, the length of these cycles varies according to the type of drug and patient. When the drug is administered intravenously.

A nurse will insert a needle into a vein in your arm that allows the chemo medicine to drip through the IV. This happens in each session of the chemotherapy treatment cycle. The nurse will remove the needle after the medicine is administered. This interaction can require a couple of hours for every meeting. The patient may experience tiredness and fatigue during the session. If it is a capsule or tablet then the medicine is given orally. You will be asked to swallow the tablet and flush it down with a glass of water. Chemotherapy drug can also be administered on the affected limbs or directly into the affected artery. In some cases, the medicine may be injected into the patient's skin, arms, legs or hips.

How long is chemotherapy given?

Chemotherapy is administered in a course or a series of sessions which varies from person to person. This course may be once a week every week or once a week for a duration of 8 weeks. It is also possible for the course to last for several months. The variation of time duration for a session or course depends on the recommendation of the oncologist and as per the medicine to be administered.

Who needs chemotherapy?

Eligibility for cancer treatment with chemotherapy depends on the following criteria:

* Most of the breast cancer patients are eligible for the treatment, except in a few cases as per the discretion of the oncologist.
* Patients in the 3rd or 4th stage of cancer can be treated with chemotherapy.
* It is the best form of treatment when cancer cells have spread throughout the body and into the bloodstream or within the lymphatic system.
* There is no specific age limit for chemotherapy. Whereas patients who are elderly may be at risk of additional side effects, and can be effective in treating patients of all ages.

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Who is not eligible for treatment?

The medical professional in charge of the treatment will decide whether you are eligible for chemotherapy treatment or not. In general, chemotherapy is used for the treatment of different types of cancer. But in some cases, chemotherapy may not be appropriate. They are:

* Pregnant ladies in their first trimester are not qualified for chemotherapy. After the primary trimester, they can securely continue with this treatment. 

* Chemotherapy is normally not for individuals who are experiencing malignant growth that doesn't spread rapidly.

What are the side effects of chemotherapy?

The symptoms of chemotherapy are as per the following:

* Nausea and vomiting: Patients often experience these symptoms after each chemotherapy session.
* Tiredness and Fatigue: It is normal to experience tiredness, weakness and tiredness for a while after the treatment.
* Hair fall: One of the most obvious side effects of chemotherapy is hair fall. Sometimes the patient gradually goes bald, while others may not lose much hair. Much of the time, the hair becomes back after the treatment is finished.
* Minor symptoms like fever, weight loss, constipation are usually experienced after the treatment.
* Patients might see changes in their skin or nails and draining gums or mouth. After treatment patients easily bruising, experience changes in the sense of taste, nerve damage and even loss of appetite.
* Some of the major side effects include; Problems with fertility, memory problems or heart disorders.

How long does it take to recover?

The time it takes to get cured depends on various factors such as the stage of cancer, type of cancer, type of treatment and number of sessions. But on an average, chemotherapy treatment lasts for around 2 to 6 months. Recovery at the end of treatment may take a few weeks to a month.

How long do the effects of chemo last?

The results of chemotherapy are not permanent as there is always a possibility of cancer. Several studies suggest that patients relapse after treatment with chemotherapy and surgery. The survival rate of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy is relatively high.

How chemotherapy is done in a specific part of the body

Many times, chemotherapy drugs are given directly to the affected areas. For example, when cancer has spread extensively within the abdomen, doctors use chemotherapy drugs to directly treat the cancerous tumor, a technique called HIPEC. Similarly, other types include intrapleural (inside the chest), intrathecal (inside the spine), and intravesical (inside the bladder).

Depending on the procedure of chemotherapy, many times the patient is allowed to take prescription drugs at home within oral chemotherapy. The frequency with which chemotherapy is given depends largely on the type of cancer, the stage of the cancer, the type of drug, and how well the patient's body is recovering after each session.


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