Chemotherapy Treatment

Normally, our cells grow and die in a controlled way. Cancer cells keep forming without control. Chemotherapy is drug therapy that can kill these cells or stop them from multiplying. However, it can also harm healthy cells, which causes side effects. These powerful medications circulate in the bloodstream and directly damage the cells that are actively growing. The treatment is based on the type, grade, and severity of cancer. During chemotherapy patients may have side effects. Side effects vary, common ones are nausea, vomiting, tiredness, pain and hair loss. Healthy cells usually recover after chemotherapy, so most side effects gradually go away. The course of therapy will depend on the cancer type, the chemotherapy drugs used, and the treatment goal and body response. Patient may get treatment every day, every week or every month. Patient may have breaks between treatments so that the body has a chance to build new healthy cells.

Steps taken :

Most patients receive their chemotherapy as outpatients or day patients, visiting the hospital on the day of treatment. Your length of stay in hospital will depend upon the type of tests, assessment, chemotherapy preparation and treatment you need. If you are a day patient, you are likely to be at the hospital between four and six hours, sometimes longer if the treatment is complex, or if you are taking part in a research study. Before you are given your chemotherapy, you will usually have blood tests and see the doctor. As you may have to wait while your chemotherapy drugs are being prepared, you may want to bring someone with you, a book to read or something else to occupy you while you wait. There are special treatments which require longer admissions and, if necessary, they will be explained to you.Advantages: The primary goal of chemotherapy is to eliminate cancer cells and prevent recurrence. The benefits of chemotherapy include destroying cancer cells, shrinking existing tumours and preventing cancer cells from thriving and multiplying. The goal is to prevent or slow down the progression of disease to help extend life.

Precautions :

There are many things you can do during and after chemotherapy to keep yourself and your loved ones from being affected by the drugs while your body is getting rid of them. It takes about 48 hours for your body to break down and/or get rid of most chemo drugs. Most of the waste products comes out in your body fluids — urine, stool, tears, saliva, and vomit. The drugs are also found in your blood. When these drugs leave your body as waste, they can harm or irritate skin — even other people’s skin. Keep in mind that for this reason, toilets can be a hazard for children and pets and it’s important to be careful. Talk to your doctor about these and any other precautions you should follow.

FAQs

How does my doctor decide which chemotherapy drugs to use?

This choice depends on the type of cancer you have, whether you have had chemotherapy before, and whether you have other health problems, such as diabetes or heart disease.

Can I miss a dose of chemotherapy?

It is not good to skip a chemotherapy treatment. But sometimes your doctor or nurse may change your chemotherapy schedule. This can be due to side effects you are having. If this happens, your doctor or nurse will explain what to do and when to start treatment again.

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. Talk with your employer about ways to adjust your work during chemotherapy.

Can I take my other medications while undergoing chemo treatment?

Unless told otherwise by your oncologist, continue to take any previously prescribed medications. If you are on pain medication, please remember to bring it with you to your chemo treatments if you will need to take it during treatment time.

When will I lose my hair? Will it grow back?

Hair loss does not occur with all chemotherapy. You may notice hair loss or thinning as soon as the second or third week after your first treatment of chemotherapy. It may happen suddenly or slowly and in an uneven pattern. It is common for hair loss to include hair that grows anywhere including eyelashes and eyebrows. In almost all cases of chemotherapy induced hair loss, your hair will resume growth after your treatment is completed.

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