By Medicover Hospitals / 24 Feb 2021
- Why It's Done
- Side Effects
- Frequently Asked Questions
Chemotheraphy is a medical treatment that uses strong chemicals to destroy rapidly growing cells in the body. Chemotheraphy is more commonly used to cure cancer as cancer cells expand and develop even more than most cells in the body.
There are several various Chemotheraphy medications available. Chemotheraphy medications may be used alone or in conjunction to treat a wide range of cancers.
Although Chemotheraphy is an effective way to treat many forms of cancer, Chemotheraphy often carries a risk of side effects. Any side effects of Chemotheraphy are moderate and treatable, while others can cause severe complications.
Why Chemotheraphy is Used
Chemotheraphy is primarily used to:
If you have undergone surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, such as a lumpectomy for breast cancer, the oncologist can prescribe Chemotheraphy to guarantee that any remaining cancer cells are destroyed.
Chemotheraphy is also used to prepare for various therapies. It can shrink a tumor so that it may be surgically removed or braced for radiation therapy.
Chemotheraphy can help to relieve pain with late-stage cancer. Besides cancer care, Chemotheraphy can train patients with bone marrow diseases for bone marrow stem cell treatment and can be used for immune system disorders. Doses much lower than those used to cure cancer can support conditions with which the body's immune system destroys healthy cells, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
- Lower the total number of cancer cells in the body
- Reduce the likelihood of cancer spreading
- Shrink tumor size
- Reduce current symptoms
Why It's Done?
Chemotheraphy is used to destroy cancer cells in cancer patients. There are some settings in which Chemotheraphy may be used in patients with cancer:
- To cure cancer without other treatments: Chemotheraphy can be used as the primary or only cure for cancer.
- After other treatments, to kill hidden cancer cells: Chemotheraphy can be used during other procedures, such as surgery, to destroy any cancer cells that may remain in the body.
- To prepare you for other treatments: Chemotheraphy can reduce the tumor such that further therapies, such as radiation and surgery, are available. Doctors are calling this neoadjuvant treatment.
- To ease signs and symptoms: Chemotheraphy can help to ease signs and symptoms of cancer by killing some cancer cells. Doctors call it palliative Chemotheraphy.
Side effects of Chemotheraphy drugs are important. The drug has different side effects, and not every drug causes side effects. Tell the doctor about the side effects of the medications you are taking. Common side-effects of Chemotheraphy drugs include:
Many of these side effects can be avoided or treated. Many side effects go down after the completion of therapy.
- Hair loss
- Loss of appetite
- Mouth sores
- Easy bruising
Long-Lasting And Late-Developing Side Effects:
Chemotheraphy drugs can also induce side effects that are not apparent until months or years after treatment. Late side effects vary depending on the Chemotheraphy treatment but can include:
Ask the doctor if you are at risk of getting some late side effects. Ask what signs and symptoms you need to be aware of that may signal a problem.
- Damage to lung tissue
- Heart problems
- Kidney problems
- Nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy)
- Risk of a second cancer
How Will You Prepare For Chemotheraphy?
What you plan for Chemotheraphy depends on which medications you will get and how they deliver. Your doctor will give you detailed instructions to prepare for your treatment with Chemotheraphy. You may need to:
- Have a device surgically inserted before intravenous Chemotheraphy: If you are receiving Chemotheraphy intravenously—into a vein—your doctor may prescribe a system such as a catheter, port, or pump. The catheter or other instrument is surgically inserted into a large vein, typically in the chest. Chemotheraphy drugs are delivered through the device.
- Taking tests and procedures to ensure sure the body is ready for Chemotheraphy: Blood tests to monitor kidney and liver function and cardiac tests to check for heart protection will decide if the body can start Chemotheraphy. If there is a concern, your doctor can postpone your treatment or recommend different Chemotheraphy and dosage that is safer for you.
- See your dentist: Your doctor may recommend that your dentist inspect your teeth for signs of infection. Treating current infections may reduce the risk of complications during Chemotheraphy, as some Chemotheraphy may reduce the body's ability to combat infections.
- Plan for side effects: Asks the doctor what side effects you can experience before and after Chemotheraphy and make suitable preparations. For example, if the Chemotheraphy procedure induces infertility, explore your choices for preserving your sperm or eggs for potential use. If the Chemotheraphy triggers hair loss, consider planning to cover your head.
- Make plans for help at home and at work: Most Chemotheraphy therapies are provided in an outpatient facility, which ensures that most patients are free to continue operating and doing their normal Chemotheraphy activities. The doctor can inform you how much Chemotheraphy will affect your normal activities, but it is impossible to determine precisely how you may feel.
- Prepare for your first treatment: Ask the doctor or nurse how to prepare for Chemotheraphy. It could be good to get well-rested for the first Chemotheraphy operation. You might wish to eat a light meal beforehand in case the Chemotheraphy drugs induce nausea.
How Chemotheraphy Drugs Are Given?
Chemotheraphy drugs can be prescribed in different ways, including:
- Chemotheraphy infusions: Chemotheraphy is most often given as an infusion into a vein (intravenously). The drugs can be given by inserting a tube with a needle into a vein in your arm or a device in a vein in your chest
- Chemotheraphy pills: Some Chemotheraphy drugs can be taken in pill or capsule form.
- Chemotheraphy shots: Chemotheraphy drugs can be injected with a needle, just as you would receive a shot.
- Chemotheraphy creams: Creams or gels containing Chemotheraphy drugs can apply to the skin to treat certain types of skin cancer.
- Chemotheraphy drugs are used to treat one area of the body: Chemotheraphy drugs should deliver specifically to one part of the body. Chemotheraphy medications, for example, should be administered directly in the abdomen (intraperitoneal Chemotheraphy), the chest cavity (intrapleural Chemotheraphy), or the central nervous system (intrathecal Chemotheraphy). Chemotheraphy can also be given to the bladder via the urethra (intravesical Chemotheraphy).
- Chemotheraphy is given directly to cancer: Chemotheraphy can be given directly to cancer or, after treatment, to cancer. For example, thin disk-shaped wafers containing Chemotheraphy medications can be inserted around a tumor during surgery. Chemotheraphy drugs can also be inserted into a vein or artery that feeds the tumor directly.
How Often You Receive Chemotheraphy Treatments?
The doctor will decide how frequently you will undergo Chemotheraphy medication depending on the drugs you will receive, the characteristics of your cancer, and how much your body will heal from each treatment. The schedule of Chemotheraphy therapies varies. Chemotheraphy can be constant or can vary between treatment times and recovery periods to allow you to heal.
Where You Receive Chemotheraphy Treatments?:
When you receive your Chemotheraphy treatment, it depends on your condition. Chemotheraphy treatments can be offered as follows:
- In an outpatient Chemotheraphy unit
- In a doctor's office
- In the hospital
- At home, when taking Chemotheraphy pills
You will visit the cancer specialist (oncologist) periodically during Chemotheraphy. Your oncologist can question you about any side effects you're having because all of them can be managed.
Depending on the case, you will even have to perform scans and other examinations to control your cancer during Chemotheraphy. These tests may give the doctor an idea of how your cancer will react to your treatment, and your treatment can be changed accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Chemotheraphy is most commonly given as a vein infusion (intravenously). Drugs can be provided by sticking a needle tube into a vein in your arm or into a vein device in your chest. Some Chemotheraphy medications may be administered as a tablet or capsule.
Some Chemotheraphy drugs can cause painful side effects, such as muscle and joint pain, headaches, and stomach pain. Pain may be felt as burning, numbness, tingling, or pain in the hands and feet (called peripheral nerve damage). This form of pain may last a long time after the completion of treatment.
Chemotheraphy is used after surgery to remove breast cancer to remove any cancer cells that could be left behind and to reduce the risk of the frequency of cancer. In certain cases, Chemotheraphy can be used before surgery to reduce the tumor such that less tissue has to be removed.
Chemo is considered a systemic treatment because medications circulate the body and can destroy cancer cells that have spread (metastasized) to areas of the body away from the initial (primary) tumor. This makes it different from therapies, such as surgery and radiation.
Chemotheraphy is usually not part of the treatment plan for the early stages of cancer. Stage-1 is easily treatable but needs care, usually surgery and also radiation, or a combination of both.
It is worth recovering from cancer Chemotheraphy—when it allows people to survive longer. Yet several patients end up with little real gain from lasting chemo following surgical removal of the tumor. Going in, it's been hard to determine how much chemo can either reduce the recurrence of the tumor or increase the chances of survival.
Chemotheraphy is a powerful cancer cure that uses medications to kill cancer cells. It may shrink the primary tumor, destroy cancer cells that may have broken off the primary tumor, and stop the spread of cancer.