Recommended For Chemotherapy
For the patients who are suffering from any kind of cancer or other diseases, chemotherapy treatment is recommended. In some cases, chemotherapy drugs are administered before or after cancer operation to remove any remnants of the diseased cancer cells.
Not Recommended For Chemotherapy
For the patients in the following categories, chemotherapy treatment is not recommended:
● Patients who are in their first trimester of pregnancy – There is a possibility for chemotherapy drugs to increase the potential of birth defects. Before the chemotherapy, it might be needed to wait until the second or third trimester.
● Patients suffering from Thrombocytopenia – Before starting chemotherapy, transfusions or medicines might be needed for the patients with low blood counts or low platelet counts.
● Patients who have kidney or liver impairment – The patients may or may not have chemotherapy, it depends on the severity of the impairment.
● Patients who had an operation lately – This risk is only related to certain operations, but it is best to wait for the patient’s body to heal before starting chemotherapy treatment.
● Patients with an active infection – These group of patients have a risk to develop more complications from chemotherapy drugs. The best solution, in this case, is first to treat the infection and then begin chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy treatment, also called Chemo is a kind of cancer treatment that includes a combination of anti-cancer chemotherapeutic agents. Chemotherapy drugs are cytotoxic – meaning that these drugs attach to the cells that divide very quickly in the body – this feature is one of the main characteristics of cancer cells. Also, chemotherapy drugs attack the healthy cells that divide quickly as well, such as the cells from hair follicles, from the digestive tract and bone marrow cells.
Chemotherapy treatment can be performed to:
● Treat a certain disease or cancer
● Extend the patient’s life
● Decrease the symptoms of some diseases – this is called palliative chemotherapy
Chemotherapy treatment is commonly used for:
● Chemotherapy for breast cancer
● Chemotherapy for lung cancer
● Chemotherapy for prostate cancer
● Chemotherapy for colon cancer
● Chemotherapy for ovarian cancer
● Chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer
● Chemotherapy for liver cancer
● Chemotherapy for bladder cancer
Also, chemotherapy drugs can be used while treating the following conditions:
● Crohn’s disease
● Multiple sclerosis
● Psoriatic arthritis
● Rheumatoid arthritis
● Systemic lupus erythematosus
Before starting chemotherapy, the patients should stop smoking, avoid alcohol, and have a healthy diet.
How It Is Performed
Before starting chemotherapy, there are certain tests need to be done. The doctor would make a treatment plan based on the results of the tests and decide on:
● The duration of the chemotherapy cycle ● The frequency of the chemotherapy cycle
● The number of cycles required
Usually, one chemotherapy treatment session takes about 30 minutes to a few hours.
Chemotherapy can be performed in different methods that include:
● Injection – In this way, the patients have shots in their abdomen, legs, hips, thighs, arms.
● Intra-arterial – During this process, the chemotherapy medications are fed into an artery near to the cancer source
● Intra-peritoneal – With this method, chemotherapy drugs are injected in the peritoneal cavity
● Topically – In this method, chemotherapy drugs come a cream form to rub onto the skin.
● Orally – In this way, the patients get the treatment through capsule, pill, or liquid formed drugs.
Each patient might give a different reaction to chemotherapy treatment. As a result of the treatment, cancer symptoms might decrease, but it is possible to feel very tired from the treatment as well.
There are few risks and complications involved with the chemotherapy treatment that includes:
● Early menopause in female patients
● Heart damage
There are several chemotherapy side effects that might include:
● Feeling tired
● Feeling sick and vomiting
● Hair loss
● Mouth ulcers or sore mouth
● Loss of appetite
● Sensitive or dry skin
● Tinnitus – a ringing sound in the patient’s ears
Depending on the patient’s disease and cancer type the success rate of chemotherapy treatment varies.
Before And After
It is recommended to have a healthy lifestyle both during and after chemotherapy treatment. It is strongly advised to stop smoking and consuming alcohol. Also, there is a higher risk of developing infections;, therefore,, the patients should take precautions to maintain well-being.
– How long will it take my hair to grow back?
During or after the chemotherapy treatment, the patient might experience hair loss which would start growing backgenerally around 4-5 months after the treatment.
– Chemotherapy vs. Radiation – Which is more suitable for my condition?
The answer differs depending on your type of cancer. Radiation therapy can be performed to locate exact places of tumors within the body. While chemotherapy is usually injected into the bloodstream, reaching to the many parts of the patient’s body.
This content is written and reviewed by our medical content team in September, 2019.