An Insight Into Everything About Chemotherapy For Cancer Treatment

An Insight Into Everything About Chemotherapy For Cancer Treatment
3 Sep 2022
7 mins
Table Of Content
An Insight Into Everything About Chemotherapy For Cancer Treatment

    Cancer occurs when the cells in the body start to proliferate abnormally. There are various treatments available today for the treatment of cancer. Depending upon the type, spread, stage, and overall health of the patient, your healthcare provider will choose the best treatment option for you. One such treatment that is widely used in the treatment of cancer is chemotherapy.

    What Is Chemotherapy?


    Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that makes use of drugs with cytotoxic action to treat cancer. Chemotherapy drugs are also called anti-cancer drugs, antineoplastic agents, and chemotherapeutic drugs. It can be given orally, by an injection, a drip, or by direct application onto the skin. To treat cancer, chemotherapy can either be used alone or in combination with other treatments like surgery, radiation therapy, etc.

    What Is The Working Mechanism Of Chemotherapy?


    Chemotherapy works by producing systemic action (it travels throughout the bloodstream to reach all parts of the body). Chemotherapy works in the following ways.


    • Curing cancer completely
    • Preventing or lowering the chances of cancer recurrence
    • Inhibiting or lowering cancer growth
    • To ease the symptoms of cancer


    Aims Of Chemotherapy


    • To cure/ prevent cancer from coming back (primary treatment): chemotherapy can be given to cure cancer completely and prevent its recurrence. This is known as Curative chemotherapy.
    • Prior to other treatments: Chemotherapy can be given prior to other cancer treatments like radiation therapy or surgery. The aim behind this is to shrink the tumor. This is known as Neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
    • After completion of other treatment: Chemotherapy can be given to get rid of the remaining cancer cells after treatment like surgery or radiation therapy. This is known as Adjuvant chemotherapy.
    • To reduce the speed with which the cancer is growing and ease its symptoms: In case cancer cannot be cured, chemotherapy can be used to improve the quality of life by reducing the cancer symptoms, slowing down the cancer progression, and preventing its spread.


    How Is Chemotherapy Administered?


    Chemotherapy can be administered in various ways. They are:


    • Injection chemotherapy: In this, the drugs are injected in the muscle (hip, stomach, thigh, or arm) or below the skin in the form of a shot. 
    • Intravenous chemotherapy (IV): In this, the medication is injected directly into the vein.
    • Oral chemotherapy: In this, the medication is given orally in the form of tablets, capsules, or pills.
    • Topical chemotherapy: In this, the medication is applied directly onto the skin in the form of creams.


    In some cases, cancer does not respond to systemic chemotherapy appropriately. In such cases, the chemotherapy is delivered directly into a specific cancer-affected area. Example: Intraperitoneal chemotherapy, Intra-arterial chemotherapy, Intrathecal chemotherapy, Intracavitary chemotherapy.

    Side Effects Of Chemotherapy


    Side effects are unwanted effects that are produced by medications. All medications have side effects. However, their occurrence and severity differ from person to person, and not everyone might experience them.


    Chemotherapy destroys the growing cancer cells. However, sometimes it might also attack the healthy growing cells like the skin cells, hair follicles, digestive system, and bone marrow. This might give rise to side effects. Some commonly occurring side effects of chemotherapy are:


    • Nausea, Vomiting
    • Hair loss
    • Fever
    • Anaemia
    • Bleeding
    • Easy bruising
    • Mouth sores
    • Dry mouth
    • Diarrhoea
    • Constipation
    • Loss of appetite
    • Fatigue
    • Pain
    • Thin, weak nails
    • Change in the colour of nails
    • Infections
    • Changes of skin
    • Insomnia


    Long-term side effects (developing later)


    • Infertility
    • Kidney issues
    • Nerve damage
    • Heart problems
    • Lung damage
    • Chances of development of second cancer
    • Early menopause

    Where To Receive Chemotherapy Treatment?


    Chemotherapy might be given at:


    • an outpatient unit for chemotherapy
    • a doctor's clinic or office
    • a hospital
    • home (oral chemotherapy or chemotherapy at home by a healthcare professional)

     "The potential within you is greater than the obstacles around you."


    Chemotherapy is an effective treatment of cancer. There are various factors taken into consideration prior to giving chemotherapy. The chemotherapy regime is fixed based on factors like the type and stage of cancer, the age and overall patient health, body weight, and other medical problems, or the previously used cancer treatments.


    Besides its advantages in cancer treatment, chemotherapy produces side effects. However, these side effects can be taken care of with proper management measures. Certain measures like taking a healthy diet, mild physical activities, avoiding foods that can cause cancer, meditation, avoiding smoking, not consuming alcohol, staying hydrated, and maintaining a healthy weight, can help reduce the severity of side effects, enhance the treatment efficacy, prevent cancer recurrences and improve the overall quality of life.


    Written by
    Arwa. AliakberContent Writer
    Tags :Chemotherapyanti- cancer drugscancer treatmentanti-neoplastic agentschemotherapy drugschemotherapy treatmentcancer chemocancer chemotherapy