Normally, the cells grow and die in a controlled way. Cancer cells grow uncontrollably. Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells. It works by keeping the cancer cells from growing and dividing into more cells. Because cancer cells generally grow and divide faster than healthy cells, chemotherapy destroys them more rapidly than it destroys most healthy cells.
Goals of Chemotherapy Treatment
If your doctor has suggested chemotherapy to treat your cancer, it’s important to know the goals of the treatment when making decisions. There are three main goals for chemotherapy in cancer treatment:
How is Chemotherapy Used?
Sometimes, chemotherapy is used as the only cancer treatment. But more often, the patient will undergo chemotherapy along with surgery, radiation therapy, or biological therapy.
What It Does?
- Reduce the size of a tumor before surgery or radiation therapy. This is called neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
- Destroy cancer cells that may remain after surgery or radiation therapy. This is called adjuvant chemotherapy.
- Help radiation therapy and biological therapy work well.
- Destroy cancer cells that have come back or spread to other parts of your body.
However, the procedure can also harm healthy cells, which causes side effects. The patient may experience many side effects, some, or none at all. It depends on the type and amount of chemotherapy the patient is exposed to and how his/her body reacts to it. Some common side effects are fatigue, nausea, vomiting, pain, and hair loss. There are means to prevent or control these side effects. Moreover, after the cancer cells have been killed, the damaged noncancerous cells are replaced with healthy cells, and as a result the side effects cease once the treatment is over.
How Long Does Chemotherapy Take?
You might get chemotherapy for a particular period, such as 6 months or a year. Side effects from many traditional chemotherapy drugs are too severe for daily treatment. Doctors usually provide these drugs with breaks, so you have time to rest and recover before the next treatment. This allows your healthy cells heal. For instance, you might be given a dose of chemotherapy on the first day, then have a 3 week revival period before repeating the treatment. Each 3-week period is called a treatment cycle. Several cycles make up a course of chemotherapy. A course generally lasts 3 months or more.
Doctors treat some cancers with less recovery time between cycles. They call this a dose-dense schedule. It increases the risk of side effects but it can also make chemotherapy more effective against some cancers.
How is Chemotherapy Given?
Chemotherapy may be given in many ways. Some common ways include:
Oral – The chemotherapy comes in pills, capsules, or liquids that you swallow.
- Intravenous (IV) – The chemotherapy goes directly into a vein.
- Injection – The chemotherapy is given by a shot in a muscle in your arm, thigh, hip, or right under the skin in the fatty part of your arm, leg, or belly.
- Intrathecal – The chemotherapy is injected into the space between the layers of tissue that cover the brain and spinal cord.
- Intraperitoneal (IP) – The chemotherapy goes directly into the peritoneal cavity, which is the area in your body that contains organs such as your intestines, stomach, and liver.
- Intra-arterial (IA) – The chemotherapy is injected directly into the artery that leads to cancer.
- Topical – The chemotherapy comes in a cream that you rub onto your skin.
Chemotherapy in India
We all know that cancer treatment expenses are extremely high. Fortunately, India is among a few affordable destinations in the world for cancer treatment. Recently, it has witnessed a surge in the influx of international patients from all across the world for procedures like cancer surgery and chemotherapy.
Health First Travel Services works through a patterned system of inter-connected services managed by case managers in several countries. It includes full-fledged multi-specialty hospitals where all the departments are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and best medical expertise, manned by qualified and dedicated staff. It is truly changing the way you receive healthcare. Furthermore, highly developed Indian Hospitals are equipped with advanced top-notch operation suites and state-of-the-art technologies designed to handle intense medical cases. Indian hospitals associated with Health First Travel Services have sophisticated surgery rooms and ICUs and other associated infrastructures that help cancer patients recover in a protected and monitored environment.