Chemotherapy is a drug treatment for cancer that targets quickly dividing cancer cells. The medication used in chemotherapy stops the cell division in those cancerous cells. Often simply called “chemo,” this type of cancer treatment is systemic, meaning it travels throughout the body and works on cancer cells anywhere, reports the American Cancer Society. Other types of cancer treatment, such as radiation or surgery, focus on a specific part of the body.
The goal of chemo is to cure the cancer, keep it from spreading, or to shrink the tumors to relieve pain or pressure. Below is some information according to WebMD.
Methods of administering chemo: Drugs include oral, injections, intra-arterial, intraperitoneal, topically and intravenously, as described by WebMD. Patients may receive chemotherapy in the hospital either on an inpatient or outpatient basis, in a clinic, at a doctor’s office or at home.
As of 2013, there were over 100 types of chemotherapy drugs, according to the American Cancer Society. Those drugs are often used in combination to work effectively. The type of cancer and other health issues of the patient play a role in choosing the specific drug and creating a personalized chemotherapy treatment plan. They may also be combined with surgery and radiation to destroy cancer cells left behind by the other treatments.
Common effects of chemotherapy: Treatment include fatigue, hair loss, decreased appetite and nausea and mouth sores. Long-term side effects are rare, but chemotherapy has been known to cause heart damage and second cancers such as leukemia as of 2015. The effects of chemotherapy vary from person to person, and different types of chemotherapy can cause different side effects. Side effects are usually short-term, and doctors can control many, such as nausea and vomiting, with medications.
Chemotherapy affects blood cells, it is common for people undergoing chemotherapy treatment to bruise or bleed easily. Chemotherapy may also make people more susceptible to infections. During chemotherapy treatment, some people may feel mildly tired, while others may be completely exhausted. This fatigue usually subsides over time.
Chemotherapy can damage the nervous system, some people may feel numb or tingly in the hands or feet, states. Chemotherapy can also cause trembling or shaking. These nervous system problems usually subside over time. Some people notice a decline in cognitive function after chemotherapy treatment, and this can take a few years to fully go away.
Women may experience symptoms similar to menopause following chemotherapy, notes WebMD. Common symptoms include irregular periods, vaginal dryness, hot flashes and an inability to get pregnant. Infertility is usually permanent for women over the age of 35, and some chemotherapy medicines may cause birth defects.
Encourage Yourself: He is out of surgery, and they said they were able to get the entire tumor out successfully. He’s been resting since surgery, they also put a port in for his chemotherapy. He was so strong! This is my great great nephew, please pray for him. Thanks in advance. Anita