Chemotherapy is a treatment that uses drugs that rapidly divide cancer cells and prevent new ones from forming.
Many chemotherapy drugs have serious side effects. However, if your doctor recommends chemotherapy, it means that the benefits outweigh the side effects.
Often, a person will receive chemotherapy as part of an overall treatment plan that also includes surgery and radiation therapy. These treatments are effective for most cancers. However, their effectiveness largely depends on the type and stage of cancer and other factors.
Talking to your doctor can help you understand what to expect from chemotherapy.
What is chemotherapy?
A healthy body is constantly replacing cells through the processes of division, growth and death. When cancer occurs, cells multiply uncontrollably and do not die when they should.
Parts of the body produce more of these abnormal cells and they begin to take up the space previously occupied by useful cells.
Chemotherapy drugs prevent cancer cells from dividing and multiplying. Medicines work differently. Different drugs attack cancer cells at different stages of their life cycle.
Treatments can affect rapidly dividing cells throughout the body or affect only certain substances or parts of cancer cells.
In chemotherapy, doctors may give a patient one drug or a combination of drugs at a time.
How much is needed?
Your doctor will make a plan with you. When the treatments will be carried out and how many sessions the patient will need.
A person may receive chemotherapy for a limited period of time or while working.
A course of chemotherapy usually lasts 3 to 6 months, depending on the type of drug and the stage of the cancer. Doctors usually give chemotherapy 1 to 4 weeks apart. There are breaks between courses that allow the human body to recover.
One day of treatment, one week off, second day of treatment, three weeks off and so on. A person can repeat this arrangement several times.
Blood tests assess a person’s health and ensure that possible side effects are ruled out.
Liver health: The liver breaks down chemicals used in chemotherapy and other drugs. Overloading the liver can lead to other problems. If blood tests before treatment show liver problems, treatment should be delayed until the liver has recovered.
Complete blood count: Before treatment, doctors check the number of red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leukocytes) and platelets. If the doses are low, patients can wait until they reach a healthy state before starting chemotherapy.
Blood tests should be done regularly during treatment to ensure that blood and liver function are as optimal as possible and to monitor the effectiveness of treatment.
4 Common Problems
Side effects of drug therapy may range from mild to severe depending on the type of therapy and the severity of the treatment. Some may have few or no side effects.
Nausea and vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are common causes. Your doctor may prescribe antiepileptic drugs to relieve symptoms.
A 2016 study found that ginger, which contains bioactive compounds called gingerols and gingerols, has many benefits for patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Hair, nails and skin
Chemotherapy drugs attack rapidly growing cells, such as hair cells. This can lead to hair loss or thick, brittle hair for weeks after starting treatment in some people.
Wearing a cooling hat can help keep your scalp moist and prevent or reduce hair loss during treatment.
Most people find that their hair grows back after treatment is completed. The counselor will suggest appropriate hairstyles or other clothing for your treatment.
Chemotherapy can also affect your skin and nails. Nail replacement tools include:
- their nails thin and weak
- painful nail beds
- dry skin
- The color changes
- marks or marks on nails
- Nail lifting and nail dropping
- reducing nail growth
The skin may become dry and painful. They can also sense sunlight, which medical experts call light sensing. People should avoid direct sunlight.
- avoid afternoon sunlight
- use sunscreen
- wear clothing that provides maximum protection
One of the side effects of pharmacotherapy is fatigue. You may notice these symptoms most of the time or after certain activities.
You can discuss the right balance of work and rest to reduce fatigue with your doctor. Full rest is usually avoided unless advised by your doctor.
Maintaining a certain level of physical activity can help improve symptoms, meaning people can continue with as many daily activities as possible.
The toxicity of some medical drugs can affect the nervous system and cause:
- tinnitus, hearing in the ears
- temporary or permanent hearing loss
- it is a matter of balance
Notify your doctor of any hearing changes.
Types of drug therapy include reliable sources such as:
Alkylating agents: These damage DNA and kill cells at various stages of their life cycle.
Metabolism: Protein replication essential for cell survival. When the cell eats them, they are of no use and the cell starves.
Plant alkaloids: inhibit cell growth and differentiation.
Antitumor drugs: inhibit cell regeneration. These are different from the antibiotics people use for infections.
In addition to pharmacotherapy, physicians use many different types of therapies, including monoclonal antibodies, immunotherapy, and targeted therapies.
Your doctor can advise you on the right way. Medications may be recommended in combination with other options such as radiation therapy or surgery.
Factors that determine the type of chemotherapy and how it works include the location, type, and stage of the cancer, the age of the patient, their general health, and their previous illnesses.
The sight of the eyes
An individual’s choice of drug treatment depends largely on the type, stage, location, and overall health of the individual. Full remission is possible in some cases.
However, complications may arise, and lifestyle and treatment modifications may be required. However, it usually resolves after treatment.
Consult your doctor before starting treatment.
- Why are you advised to use chemotherapy?
- What else can I do?
- There are different types of treatments
- how much does it cost?
- what to expect in terms of side effects