Chemotherapy: What Is It and How Does It Work?

The info in these pages is for adults having chemotherapy, although some of it will matter for children. Talk to your doctor for particular info about chemotherapy for children.

What is Chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is making use of drugs to kill or slow the development of cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs are also called cytotoxics, which implies poisonous (poisonous) to cells (cyto). A few of these drugs are obtained from natural sources such as plants, while others are totally developed in the lab. There are many types of chemotherapy drugs, which are typically used in various combinations and at various strengths.

How does it work?

Many chemotherapy drugs get in the blood stream and travel throughout the body to reach cancer cells in various organs and tissues.

Chemotherapy drugs target and injure rapidly dividing cells, but since the drugs are not cancer specific, both cancer cells and some regular cells are affected. When typical cells are harmed, this can cause side effects.

By the time your next treatment begins, your body’s normal cells have actually normally recuperated but the cancer cells have not. This is due to the fact that cancer cells do not repair quickly, so they recover more slowly than regular cells. This implies that more cancer cells are destroyed with every treatment.

Chemotherapy (chemo)

Chemotherapy (chemo) generally describes using medicines or drugs to treat cancer. The thought of having chemotherapy frightens lots of people. However understanding what chemotherapy is, how it works, and what to expect can typically help calm your fears. It can likewise give you a better sense of control over your cancer treatment.

Some types of chemotherapy can be provided straight at the tumour site rather than travelling through the bloodstream. Examples are chemotherapy wafers for brain cancer and chemoembolisation for liver cancer. As the treatment is localised, side effects are less typical.

Why Have Chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy can be used for various reasons:

To help other treatments: Chemotherapy can be provided either before or after other treatments. Used in advance(neo-adjuvant therapy), its purpose is to make the cancer smaller so your primary treatment is more reliable. If chemotherapy is given after your main treatment (adjuvant therapy), its objective is to obtain rid of any remaining cancer cells that may not be seen on scans.

Cure: Some cancers can be cured by chemotherapy on its own or in mix with other treatments, such as surgery or radiotherapy.

To manage the cancer: If the cancer is too large and can’t be cured, chemotherapy can be used to control the cancer’s development for a prolonged time period.

Symptom relief: When the cancer cannot be cured but causes symptoms such as pain, treatment– such as chemotherapy– can supply relief. This is called palliative treatment.

How Is Chemotherapy Offered?

Chemotherapy can be given in a variety of ways. Most people have chemotherapy through a vein (intravenously). It can also be prescribed orally (tablets or capsules), as a cream, or as injections into various parts of the body.

Does Chemotherapy Harm?

  • Having intravenous chemotherapy may seem like having your blood taken.
  • If you have a temporary tube (cannula) in your hand or arm, only the preliminary injection might hurt.
  • If you have a central venous gain access to device, it ought to not be painful.
  • Some treatments will cause side effects. Nevertheless, chemotherapy drugs are continuously being enhanced to give you the best possible outcomes and to minimize side effects.

If you feel burning, coolness, pain or other uncommon sensation where a cannula or central venous gain access to device enters your body, or if you have inflammation or inflammation over the injection site, inform your doctor or nurse immediately.

Continue forĀ More facts about chemotherapy procedure

Last Update - November 17, 2017


The Author

Reyus Mammadli

As a healthy lifestyle advisor I try to guide individuals in becoming more aware of living well and healthy through a series of proactive and preventive measures, disease prevention steps, recovery after illness or medical procedures.

Education: Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.

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