Chemotherapy – Things to know

September 12, 2017 Cancer Hub 10571 Views


These days, cancer has become common health trouble. So common that most of us either know a family member or someone around who has been diagnosed with cancer. For these people, the term “chemotherapy” adds on to the existing miseries. Here’s all that you need to know about this medication therapy.

What is chemotherapy?

Cancerous cells were once normal body cells. Due to certain changes in the gene or chemical constitution, these cells become abnormal. They begin to divide uncontrollably, ending up causing different types of cancer. Chemotherapy deals with the use of drugs to kill these abnormal cells or cease their progression.

How is chemotherapy administered?

The drug, its frequency, as well as its mode of administration, depends on what type of cancer the person is suffering from and what stage he is in. However, the common mode of administration include intravenously, orally (by mouth in the form of a tablet) or with an injection (intrathecal or intraventricular).

In most of the cases, the family member of the patient or even patient itself can administer chemotherapy just like diabetes people do take insulin. But this isn’t that easy always. Sometimes, the patient may require the aid of a nurse or the need to visit the hospital.

How does chemotherapy work?

In order to target a wide range of cancerous cells, there have been several chemotherapy drugs being developed. Interestingly, each class of these drugs has different ways of working. The most common modes include damaging the abnormal DNA of the cancerous cells, blocking their cell division cycle and disrupting their cellular metabolism so that their growth is ceased.

What are the possible risks?

The objective behind giving chemotherapy is to kill the cancerous cells. Unfortunately, the drugs fail to differentiate between the normal cells and the cancerous ones. This is the root cause of all the problems that patients living with chemotherapy complain about. Some of the common risks include hair loss, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, unexplained fatigue, fever, mouth sores and digestive system related issues such as constipation. However, long term side effects of the chemo drugs may turn as serious as ailments of major organs like heart, lungs, and kidney, nerve damage, infertility and probability of second cancer.

What is like living with chemotherapy?

Although the experience with chemotherapy depends on many factors, it is definitely not something that’s easy to deal with. Dealing with hair loss, general fatigue and nausea would probably be every day’s story. If the situation goes serious, the patient should consult with the physician immediately and ensure that things are normal. Personal care, positive attitude, and timely administration of medicines are all that it takes to fight with cancer.

For more information and to know if it is for you or not, reach out to your nearest medical oncologist today.  

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