What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to destroy cancer cells. Normal cells grow and die in a controlled way. When cancer occurs, cells in the body that are not normal keep dividing and forming more cells without control. Chemotherapy drugs destroy cancer cells by stopping them from growing or multiplying. Healthy cells can also be harmed, especially those that divide quickly. Harm to healthy cells is what causes side effects. These cells usually repair themselves after chemotherapy. Because some drugs work better together than alone, two or more drugs are often given at the same time. This is called combination chemotherapy.A cancer diagnosis usually leads to a mountain of questions. We strive to reduce your anxiety and bring peace of mind by offering immediate answers to more common questions regarding our office procedures and treatment methods. If your questions are not answered here, or you would like to discuss your concerns, you can always call our offices to speak to our staff or your doctor directly. For more detailed information, please refer to our guide on the side effects of chemotherapy.

After the detection of the level and type of cancer, chemotherapy can:

  • Cure cancer: The destruction of cancer cells to a certain limit to when it can no longer be detected or grown after the process of chemotherapy.
  • Control cancer: Lowering growth, stopping the spread of cancer cells to other body parts is the control of cancer.
  • Palliative care: Shrinkage or degeneration of the tumor which causes pain or pressure after chemotherapy is palliative care.

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The therapy uses a drug named cytotoxics which kills or stops the growth or multiplying of the cancer cells. Other chemotherapy drugs are also available. There are various ways in which it is given:

  • Intravenous chemotherapy: This type of chemotherapy involves the anti- cancer drug and a needle or tube which is inserted through the veins.
  • Oral chemotherapy: The prescribed tablets or capsules are taken by a cancer patient through mouth. Failing to take capsules on time may cause harm, thus, consulting a doctor is very important.
  • Intraventricular chemotherapy: When the drugs injected need to reach the cerebrospinal fluid, then intraventricular chemotherapy is used. This is done by injecting the drug with the help of catheter.

Chemotherapy also has some side effects. It affects the normal and healthy cells, such as the ones that cause the hair to grow or in the mouth and intestines which divide rapidly. It damages the blood forming cells in the bone marrow. Some of the side effects also include: fatigue, intense chills, pain or pressure, vomiting and diarrhea.

The abnormal cell growth having the potential to spread throughout the body is a disease called cancer. There are 7- 8 major types of cancer but there exists more than 100. They are divided and named after the place of origination. Some of the different types of cancers are listed below:

Side Effect of Chemotherapy & FAQ

Anticancer drugs and treatments can cause side effects. The kinds of side effects you have, and how severe they are, depend on the type and dose of chemotherapy you get and how your body reacts. As every patient and course of treatment is different, you may have none of these side effects or just a few. We offer information on different side effects and possible ways to alleviate or eliminate these effects. As always, you can call our offices at any time if you have concerns or questions.

What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to destroy cancer cells. Normal cells grow and die in a controlled way. When cancer occurs, cells in the body that are not normal keep dividing and forming more cells without control. Chemotherapy drugs destroy cancer cells by stopping them from growing or multiplying. Healthy cells can also be harmed, especially those that divide quickly. Harm to healthy cells is what causes side effects. These cells usually repair themselves after chemotherapy. Because some drugs work better together than alone, two or more drugs are often given at the same time. This is called combination chemotherapy.

For more detailed information, please refer to our guide on the side effects of chemotherapy.

Can I miss a dose of chemotherapy?

For chemotherapy drugs to work their best, it isn’t a good idea to skip a treatment.  Sometimes your doctor may change your chemotherapy schedule to alleviate a side effect you are experiencing. If this happens, your doctor will explain things to you and let you know when it is safe to start treatment again.

How will I feel during chemotherapy?

Each person and treatment is different, so it is not always possible to tell exactly how you will react. Most people receiving chemotherapy find that they tire easily, but many feel well enough to continue to lead active lives. Your general state of health, the type and extent of cancer you have, and the kind of drugs you are receiving can all affect how well you feel.

For more detailed information, please refer to our guide on the side effects of chemotherapy.

Can I work during chemotherapy?

Many people can work during chemotherapy, as long as they match their schedule to how they feel. Whether or not you can work may depend on what kind of work you do. If your job allows, you may want to see if you can work part-time or work from home on days you do not feel well. Talk with your employer about ways to adjust your work during chemotherapy.

What are clinical trials and are they an option for me?

Cancer clinical trials (also called cancer treatment studies or research studies) test new treatments for people with cancer. These can be studies of new types of chemotherapy, other types of treatment, or new ways to combine treatments. The goal of all these clinical trials is to find better ways to help people with cancer.

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