One of the most widely used treatment methods for cancer, chemotherapy offers better success rates out of the options. However, chemotherapy is not completely understood by the masses, with many people having the notion that the treatment involves the use of harmful drugs that leave lifelong side effects with little results.
Chemotherapyis a method of treating cancer, where a combination of drugs and treatments are used to prevent cancer cells from dividing. The chemicals directly affect the dividing tumour cells and kill them to prevent spreading of cancer to other parts of the body. Chemotherapy uses a range of drugs in the process, but its effectiveness also depends upon the stage of the cancer being treated.
How does chemotherapy treatment work?
In chemotherapy, a combination of drugs is usually used to combat cancer cells. These drugs are delivered into the body either via injection into the bloodstream, or by targeted injection into cancer affected area. If cancer has spread to various parts of the body, injecting into the bloodstream is the more potent option.
Chemo drugs impair the mitosis of cancer cells, which means that they are rendered unable to divide and reproduce. In some cases, the drugs target the source of energy of the cancer cells, which include the various hormones and enzymes that the cells need to survive. Chemotherapy can also be used to carry out apoptosis, which is the scientific term used to refer to the suicide of the cancer cells.
Chemotherapy does not only affect the cancerous cells but also affects the healthy cells in the area. Therefore, many worrying effects are observed, especially during the early stages of the process. However, it is possible for cancer chemotherapy to be cured completely via the process, which has to make the side effects of it bearable.
Palliative chemotherapy refers to the use of drugs to ease the condition of the patient, especially in cases where it has spread to other parts of the body. Using palliative chemotherapy, the pain and pressure in various areas of the body can be reduced to an extent.
Side Effects of Chemotherapy
The side effects of chemotherapy depend upon the patient, the type of cancer and the dosage and types of drugs used for treatment. The side effects are usually mild to severe in most patients; there may even be no side effects to the process.
Nausea is a commonly observed side effect of chemotherapy, along with vomiting. It has been observed to occur in around 70% of the patients, but it can be reduced with the usage of special anti-emetic drugs. Another common side effect of chemo is alopecia or hair loss. Hair loss has no physical consequences on the patient, but its psychological effect can be huge. It can be a distressing, harrowing experience for the patient; but the hair grows back normally after the treatment is completed. Other common side effects include fatigue, hearing impairment and loss of appetite in the patient.
PSTakeCare enables you to compare all the hospitals and the doctors online, on the website to help you make an educated choice for your treatment. You can even book doctor appointment via the website, so make sure you explore all your options.