Chemotherapy: Uses, Side Effects, Benefits and More

We have often heard people talk about a therapy used to cure cancer. Yes, it is called chemotherapy, but before going and opting for it, just go through this article and understand how chemotherapy works, its benefits, risks attached, and everything else.

What is chemotherapy?

It is a type of chemical drug therapy that is done to knock down the speedily increasing cells in the body. It is most often used to cure cancer, as cancer is the disease caused by these uncontrollable growing cells.

Uses of Chemotherapy in Cancer

Chemotherapy is done to treat people with cancer, the various situations when it is used to cure cancer are –

  • Treatment of cancer without using other cures – It can be used as the only cancer treatment for a patient.
  • To destroy the unseen cancer cells – It is also called adjuvant therapy when used to kill the unseen cancer cells after surgery.
  • To relieve the signs –  In the form of palliative chemotherapy, it is used to kill few cancer cells.

Uses of chemotherapy other than cancer

Chemotherapy can be used for diseases like –

  • Disorders related to the immune system – Chemotherapy can be used to cure an overactive immune system suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
  • Bone marrow issues – It is used to generate a bone marrow transplant.

Side effects of Chemotherapy

Short term effects:

  1. Feeling of nausea and vomiting.
  2. Chances of diarrhea.
  3. Suffering from hair loss.
  4. No appetite.
  5. Intense fatigue.
  6. Fever in some cases
  7. Sores in the mouth.
  8. Body aches.
  9. Stomach issues like constipation.
  10. Bleeding and bruising

Note: These short-term side effects can be cured.

Long term effects:

  1. Lung tissue damage.
  2. Heart-related issues
  3. Problems related to fertility.
  4. Kidney issues.
  5. Damage to nerves(peripheral neuropathy).
  6. In some cases, there is a risk of cancer again.

Note: These long-term effects can be severe and last up to months.

Benefits of chemotherapy

  • This therapy is used in curing various issues like –
  • It decreases the growth of cancer and contracts it, increasing your chances of living more and healthy life.
  • In the case of borderline resectable cancer, chemotherapy helps in decreasing cancer to such an extent that surgery can easily cure it.
  • If you undergo chemotherapy after surgery, then the chances of cancer reappearing can reduce.

What are the necessities for undergoing chemotherapy

Chemotherapy plays a significant role in the cure of cancer, efficient planning for the process plays a major role in its success rate.

  • You should discuss the anticipated issues with your doctor and other medical staff.
  • Several tests will be conducted before undergoing chemotherapy to find out whether your body is healthy enough to deal with the problems. The tests include heart and blood tests.
  • Based on these tests, your doctor decided the accurate type of chemotherapy suited for you.
  • You will be recommended to undergo a dental checkup before the chemotherapy by your doctor as chemotherapy is related to your body’s healing capacity, and in case of any infection in your teeth and gums can spread easily in your whole body.
  • You may have a port installed in your body by your doctor through an intravenous line(IV), this port is a device that is installed in your body (inside your chest, near the shoulder)and helps in easy access to your veins. Each treatment means an IV installation

Some common suggestions for chemotherapy preparation –

  • Work arrangements – Many people work along with their chemo sessions, so if you want to do the same then make the necessary arrangements and a blueprint of the plan before your therapy to ensure less workload.
  • Make necessary house preparations – Complete tasks like laundry, grocery shopping, and other necessities before your first appointment.
  • Reaching out to a relative or another close one for help during the session must be done properly.
  • Forecast the side effects- You should know all the possible side effects that you can face and make necessary arrangements to deal with them, get mentally prepared.
  • Become a member of a support group – Join any group or start indulging with people, so that you don’t feel alone and sidelined during your chemo sessions. These support groups will help you in staying optimistic.

How to use the drugs of chemotherapy

The drugs in chemotherapy can be provided in various ways –

  • Pills of chemotherapy –  In the form of chemotherapy pills and capsules.
  • Chemotherapy shots – The medicines of chemotherapy can be given with a needle-like you receive shot.
  • Cream of chemotherapy – You can use chemotherapy drugs as a cream by applying them to your skin, these drugs are used to treat skin cancer.
  • Chemotherapy infusions – Most of the time chemotherapy drugs are injected into the vein. The insertion of the drug is done by a needle inside your vein in your arm or chest.
  • The drugs of chemotherapy are used to cure one body area, eg.-Intraperitoneal chemotherapy, intrapleural chemotherapy, intrathecal chemotherapy, intrathecal chemotherapy, intravesical chemotherapy.

What is the frequency of receiving chemotherapy treatments?

The frequency of your chemo sessions depends on the type of your drug intake, the features of your cancer, and your body recovery rate.

  • The schedules of chemotherapy differ.
  • The treatment of chemotherapy can be regular or maybe conducted alternatively.

In what places can you undergo chemotherapy?

Ans-This completely depends on the situation of the patient –

  • In your doctor’s clinic.
  • Hospital.
  • Where you take chemotherapy pills, that can be your home.

Note: You can along with your doctor find out the most suitable place you want.

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