Understanding The Basics Of Chemotherapy Treatment

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Chemotherapy is a common form of cancer treatment that uses drugs to destroy cancer cells in the body. 

Following are some  of the important points to understand about chemotherapy:

How it works: 

Chemotherapy drugs are designed to target and destroy rapidly dividing cells, including cancer cells. These drugs can be administered orally or through intravenous (IV) infusion, and they circulate in the bloodstream to reach cancer cells throughout the body.

Types of chemotherapy:

There are many types of chemotherapy, including adjuvant chemotherapy, neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and palliative chemotherapy. Adjuvant chemotherapy is given after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is provided prior to surgery to shrink tumors and make surgery more effective. Palliative chemotherapy is used to manage symptoms and slow the progression of advanced-stage cancer.

Side effects: 

Chemotherapy can have side effects, as it also affects normal healthy cells that rapidly divide, such as hair follicles, bone marrow cells, and cells lining the digestive tract. Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, hair loss, and lowered immunity. However, these side effects can often be managed with supportive care measures.

Treatment schedule: 

Chemotherapy treatment plans depend on the stage and type of the cancer, as well as the individual patient’s health condition. The duration and frequency of chemotherapy sessions can vary from weeks to months, and the treatment plan is closely monitored and adjusted as needed.

Combination therapy: 

Chemotherapy is often used in combination with other cancer treatments, radiation therapy, surgery to achieve the best possible outcome. This is known as multimodal or combination therapy and aims to target cancer cells from different angles and increase the chances of successful treatment.

In conclusion

chemotherapy is a common and effective form of cancer treatment that uses drugs to destroy cancer cells. Understanding the basics of chemotherapy, including how it works, types of chemotherapy, side effects, treatment schedule, combination therapy, and precautions, can help patients and their families better prepare and cope with the treatment journey.