What Is Chemotherapy And How The Cancer Medication Works
Chemotherapy is a common cancer treatment that has been used for the last four decades. Because of its efficiency, it is extremely effective and is considered one of the standard forms of cancer treatment. It works by killing rapidly dividing cells and can be used to treat a wide range of cancers. The numerous forms of chemotherapy drugs are administered in either short cycles or long term, depending on what a physician prescribes to his/her patient. Chemotherapy aims to shrink the tumors and to fight the malignant cells inside your body by destroying them.
Types of Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is most commonly used to treat cancer. It works by killing or slowing the growth of rapidly growing cells such as those that are found in cancerous tumors.
The drugs used in chemotherapy are typically administered intravenously and are designed to target and kill rapidly dividing cells. While they may be effective in killing cancer cells, they also damage other rapidly dividing cells, such as those found in the bone marrow (where blood cells are produced), the gastrointestinal tract, mucosal surfaces and hair follicles. These additional effects are responsible for many of the side effects of chemotherapy.
There are several ways that chemotherapy can be given:
Systemic therapy: The drugs enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body killing cancerous tumors in a variety of locations.
Regional therapy: This method involves placing drugs directly into an area where there is cancer (such as a body cavity or joint) or near a specific nerve that supplies a tumor. The goal is to deliver higher concentrations of the drug to a particular area while reducing the dose elsewhere in the body.
Intrathecal therapy: This type of chemotherapy involves placing a small amount of medication into the spinal fluid (usually through a lumbar puncture or spinal tap). It is generally reserved for cancers
Side Effects of Chemotherapy.
The side effects of chemotherapy depend on the individual and the dose used, but they can include:
Nausea and vomiting
The Future of Cancer Treatments
The drugs used in chemotherapy are called cytotoxic drugs; they work by targeting rapidly dividing cells, which is why they are so effective against cancer, and also why they can cause side effects.
Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. The rays are much more powerful than X-rays used in hospitals for scans, but the treatment itself is very similar. Radiotherapy can be used either as a curative treatment or to relieve symptoms from advanced cancer.
If you have an operation to remove a tumour, you may need further treatment afterwards to destroy any remaining cancer cells and prevent them spreading (this is called adjuvant therapy). You may have chemotherapy or radiotherapy after surgery, or both.
Side effects from chemotherapy and radiotherapy vary from person to person, but your doctor will explain what might happen before you start treatment. They will also explain how long the treatment will last and how it will affect your day-to-day life.
The modern society is currently suffering from the great number of cancer cases all over the world. This leads to increased cost of medical treatments, especially radiotherapy. You may know how it works and what are its advantages but you may still be wondering about the fundamentals for its mechanism of action. Today I will try to explain this in a simpler way, so take some time and read my article; maybe it will help you when dealing with cancer cases.
For the many patients who need it, chemotherapy alone or in combination with other treatments can be a lifeline.