Chemotherapy is the use of any cancer drugs to treat cancer. It is also called “chemo.” In a nut shell chemotherapy kills cancer cells that have spread to parts of the body far away from the original tumour.
Three main goals for chemotherapy in treatment of cancer are as follows:
Cure: to treat the cancer and cure the patient
Control: It is used to shrink tumours and or stop the cancer from growing and spreading.
Palliation: It assists in easing symptoms caused by the cancer. Palliative care is an important aspect of cancer treatment and focuses on focuses on preventing, managing, and relieving the symptoms of cancer and the side effects of cancer treatment. It also provides comprehensive support to people living with cancer and their family, friends, and caregivers.
How does chemotherapy work on cancer cells?
Oncologists can treat the cancer can be treated with a single chemo drug or a combination, but often several drugs are used in a certain order or in certain combinations Different drugs that work in different ways can work together to kill more cancer cells. Chemotherapy is the only treatment or is used with surgery or radiation therapy or both. (Adjuvant therapy) Chemotherapy is mostly used to shrink a tumour before surgery or radiation therapy. It is also used after surgery or radiation therapy to help kill any remaining cancer cells. It may be used with other treatments if your cancer comes back.
What factors are taken into consideration for chemotherapy?
Oncologists have taken into consideration various factors when choosing drugs to use for treatment:
The type of cancer and the stage, age of the patient, overall health status, any underlying health conditions and past treatments.
How is the dose determined?
Generally the dosage of chemotherapy regimen is based on the weight of the body and it is measured in milligrams (mg). Dosage needs to be accurate as these drugs are not always safe and side effects do occur. Various reason d for adjusting the dosage are also taken into account such as nutritional status of patient, obesity , elderly, low blood counts, underlying liver and kidney disease
Chemotherapy regimens are commonly given at regular intervals called cycles and a schedule is planned to minimize side effects. The number of chemotherapy cycles given may be decided before treatment starts, based on the type and stage of cancer.
What are the side effects of chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy has many side effects:
- Hair loss.
- Easy bruising and bleeding.
- Anaemia (low red blood cell counts)
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Appetite changes.
What are types of chemotherapy and administration?
Chemotherapy can be either standard chemotherapy, traditional chemotherapy, or cytotoxic chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is generally done either through, Oral chemotherapy medications, Subcutaneous or Intra-muscular injection .The most common way chemotherapy is done by Intravenous administration of therapy medication which allows for rapid entry into the body’s circulation, where it is carried throughout the body in the blood stream.
How long can chemotherapy given for?
The length of chemotherapy treatment is determined by a variety of factors. These include the type of cancer, the extent of cancer, the types of drugs that are given, as well as the expected toxicities of the drugs and the amount of time necessary to recover from these toxicities.
What is the success of treatment through chemotherapy?
Success rate of chemotherapy patients is good but that depends on type of cancer and its spread.