Cancer chemotherapy

Although there are several different types of cancer, most of them are treated very similarly. Since cancer does not respond to traditional forms of medication, aside from experimental treatments and clinical trials, the only methods that seem to work are surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Although surgery is generally used to remove the cancerous tumor, radiation and chemotherapy are used to destroy what was left and prevent cancer cells from growing. In this article, we’ll talk specifically about cancer chemotherapy, namely what it does, when you might need it, and why it is used. Hopefully, we’ll be able to answer any questions that you might have about the process of going through chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy works as a cell killing chemical that targets rapidly multiplying cells, which are the trademarks of cancer cells. Chemotherapy is very effective at finding and killing new cancer cells because they are the type that divide most rapidly. As cancer cells age, they slowly stop dividing, which is why it is important to catch cancer in the early stages. The problem with chemotherapy is that over time, the cells become resistant to the chemicals and begin to fight back. Also, the nucleus of most tumors has ceased cell division entirely, therefore it is not affected by chemotherapy. This is why surgery is used in combination with chemotherapy, so that the main tumor is removed and then chemotherapy can effectively target newer cancer cells.

When chemotherapy is used as part of the treatment for cancer, the chemicals are usually injected through an I.V. When most people hear the term “cancer chemotherapy,” they immediately think about the nasty side effects that come after treatment. Most of the side effects are manageable, although there are some long-term issues that can arise. In the short-term, chemotherapy can cause fatigue, nausea, and hair and fingernail loss. Some people handle chemotherapy better than others, and depending on the dosage required during treatment, they might not feel a thing. However, in most cases those being treated will struggle through bouts of fatigue, dizziness, and possible vomiting. There are new advances being made however, where doctors can specifically target cancerous areas, thus leaving the rest of the body unaffected.

Chemotherapy is often used in combination with radiation so that the cancer cells are effectively “blasted” with cancer killing chemicals and gamma rays. The problem with treatments like these is that they are so invasive that they can cause problems over the long-term. Although the goal with any cancer treatment is to cure the person at the present, a doctor must consider long-term implications when using any form of chemotherapy or radiation. Too heavy of a dosage could cause damage to the organs and lymph nodes, especially in cases of lymphoma. However, most doctors are well aware of this and will respond with treatment equal to the response necessary to stop the cancer cells.

Although battling cancer is an uphill battle for many, it is becoming an easier fight thanks to advancements in modern medicine. There are many drugs currently being tested that can help people fight cancer without the need for chemotherapy and radiation. Many doctors won’t mention these clinical trials unless the situation is dire, but if you are interested in trying them out or learning more, then you should suggest you’re your doctor look into them. You can also find a lot of information about cancer research online. Although the regular methods of treatment are destructive and difficult to deal with, they are used because they work, which is the important thing. If you have any questions about chemotherapy, then I suggest scheduling an appointment with your doctor to discuss your options.

Last updated on Apr 6th, 2009 and filed under Cancer Research. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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