Chemotherapy procedure (chemo) is an advanced cancer treatment, in which medications are used to treat cancer. With the development of new chemo treatments, this therapy gets more and more sophisticated and destroys cancer cells with increasing precision. Chemotherapy can be used for various types of cancer, including breast cancer, lung cancer and others. However, still many patients look for information on chemotherapy in cancer specialists’ offices or on the internet. Therefore, we have prepared answers to the common questions of this topic.
1-Does Chemotherapy Cure Cancer?
What does chemotherapy do?
It destroys cancer cells. Chemotherapy treatment’s main advantage is not only focusing on the main location of the tumour, but also attacking cancer cells located in different parts of patient’s body. Various types of cancer like liver cancer or prostate cancer may spread to other organs without showing any sign. With chemotherapy procedure, all of them can be destroyed within one cancer treatment. Sometimes chemotherapy is paired with radiotherapy in order to achieve better effects; however, it depends on the types of cancer and the patient’s health. Still, the success of chemotherapy procedure depends mostly on a patient’s cancer stage.
2-What Are the Types of Chemotherapy?
There are three main types of chemotherapy. These include:
- Chemotherapy procedure focuses on curing cancer – if a cancer is still curable, a cancer specialist attempts to destroy cancer cells totally through chemotherapy treatment. However, most of the time it is not possible in the case of advanced cancer.
- Chemotherapy treatment for cancer control – the cancer specialist may attempt to shrink the size of tumour through chemotherapy procedure. In this way, patient’s life expectancy may be significantly increased.
- Palliative chemotherapy procedure – in cases of extremely advanced cancer, the cancer specialist may use chemotherapy treatment to at least stop the development of new cancer cells or even partially shrink the tumour. Therefore, at least the patient’s pain can be eased.
3-How Does a Chemotherapy Procedure Look Like?
Chemotherapy process may be conducted in a hospital as well as the patient’s home. Chemotherapy may take the form of a pill, an injection or even a cream. In any case, patient’s cancer specialist applies drugs used to treat cancer and waits for effects of chemotherapy to become visible. In a case of appearance of serious side effects of chemotherapy, cancer specialist will adjust the drug or its dose. There is no universal description of the stages of chemotherapy treatment. Patient’s cancer specialist decides about drugs used and the timing to treat cancer. One medicine and the timing can suit pancreatic cancer, other one can fit colon cancer or other types of cancer. Another important factor to determine a right method is the patient’s health condition.
4-Is Chemotherapy Painful?
Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to avoid pain in chemotherapy. It is one of the common side effects of chemotherapy procedure. However, pain in chemotherapy may be treated with painkillers and other treatments. Still, we must accept the pain in chemotherapy due to high effectiveness of this cancer treatment against various types of cancer such as lung cancer and colon cancer.
5-What Are the Side Effects of Chemotherapy?
There are numerous after effects of chemotherapy treatment. Common side effects of this treatment include diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, as well as unpleasant throat and mouth sores. Additionally, chemotherapy procedure may cause problems with blood. Other after effects of chemotherapy include hair loss and untypical reactions of the nervous system like shaking, tingling and problems with balance. Additionally, chemotherapy process may result in appetite disorders, problems related to sexual activity and reproduction as well as affect memory and thinking processes. Finally, as it was mention in the previous paragraph, pain in chemotherapy is a common side effect.