Chemotherapy is effectively used in cancer treatment and cytotoxic drugs are used to heal the patient. The word ‘chemo’ is synonymous with drug or medicine and ‘therapy’ is analogous to treatment.
The cancer cells are fast dividing and it is destroyed by magic bullets which are drugs or chemotherapeutic agents. However, these drugs fail to make any discrimination between the cancer cells and the normal ones as it destroys both while fighting cancer. There are many side effects of this process and let us just put some light on them.
Overview Of Chemotherapy
A majority of cancer patients are treated with chemotherapy and it accounts for more than half of the people suffering from the deadly disease. Chemotherapy is generally used for treating cancer cells of an organ. Furthermore, it is also used to tackle the spread of cancer and tumor and also treat those distant sites. It is a systematic therapy in which the entire body is treated in the process.
There are many side effects of chemotherapy and from the time it came into practice there were instances where the patients have to bear fatal consequences. However, with time it has become a safer practice with better usage and proper monitoring of excellent combination therapy.
Oncologists all across the globe prescribe a combination of important drugs as part of the chemotherapy regimen to treat chronic disease. These drugs are particularly administered for treating the fast-dividing cells for treating cancer throughout the different stages of the disease. Supportive drugs are also used to drastically reduce the side effects.
Types of Chemotherapy Drugs
Popping a pill is quite common in most people and even consuming aspirin during earlier days was part of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is a word that was frequently used in earlier days when medicine or a drug was prescribed for treating any disease. Antibacterial chemotherapy is a commonly used word by doctors and this is referred to the use of antibiotics prescribed for controlling the disease.
The first instances of chemotherapeutic agents in modern times are the arsenic compounds for treating syphilis. Penicillin and Sulphonamides are other antibiotic agents used in the modern era. These are modern connotation cytotoxic drugs used for the treatment of cancer.
Cytotoxic drugs are used to cure testicular tumors and leukemia for cancerous conditions like Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Some non-cancer conditions are also treated using chemotherapy agents like transplant rejections. It is also used for treating multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis which are a part of autoimmune diseases.
The performance status of the patient is checked to begin the chemotherapy process. This performance status refers to a score that provides information to the physician about the fitness of the patient for undergoing chemotherapy. It also provides a clear picture of whether it is required to reduce the drug dose.
Advantages of Chemotherapy
First, let us just showcase some of its benefits and summarize them properly.
The stage and type of cancer will determine the chemotherapy benefits and it also depends on the individual who is affected.
Early Stage of Chemo
In this stage of cancer, the doctors intend to perform surgery to cure the disease. After that, chemotherapy is applied to the patient and the risk of the cancer cells recurring is minimized.
Advanced Stage of Chemo
In this particular stage, chemotherapy treatment is aimed at controlling cancer as it checks the symptoms effectively:
- The cancer cells might shrink with chemotherapy and the growth can be slowed down effectively. This will increase the life span of the patient and will minimize the risk of other symptoms.
- Some cancer is borderline resectable and for those small groups of people, the cancer is shrunk through chemotherapy. Cancer can be easily removed with effective surgery.
- Once the surgery is over, a patient can opt for chemotherapy. This will effectively minimize the chances of cancer recurrence.
- Chemotherapy paves the way for regular contact with the doctor with frequent check-ups. This is reassuring for most patients as they can easily get any updates about the disease regularly.
Disadvantages of Chemotherapy
There are many negatives of chemotherapy treatment. Let us take a look at them:
- Chemotherapy has several side effects and one cannot rule out the element of discomfort it unleashes on the patient. The doctor is the best person in such trying times to discuss all those problems. However, the symptoms can be effectively controlled with proper medications.
- Many people cannot reap the good effects of chemotherapy but they have to bear the brunt of the treatment. They are not spared of the deadly side effects of the treatment as those people receive palliative care for further healing.
- Chemotherapy treatment is not available in many remote places and for this, the patients have to travel long distances to get the best treatment.
- Most importantly, patients have to be hospitalized to get the best chemotherapy treatment. These drugs are mostly administered to patients daily and hospitalization is essential for the purpose. However, in some cases, one can visit the hospitals every day to get the chemotherapy drugs.
- The prognosis of cancer may not improve with chemotherapy treatment and the treatment can easily turn out to be futile for the longevity of the patient.
- Palliative chemotherapy often causes deterioration of the quality of life of the cancer patient. The life span of the patient hardly improves and it is better to take the suggestions of the best oncologists to start the treatment.
Death can occur due to certain chemotherapy regimens but it is confined to a small number of patients who are unable to bear the treatment. It is always recommended to take the advice of the best doctors before beginning the treatment and also learn about the grave consequences of chemotherapy.
The consent of the patient is vital to start the chemotherapy treatment. The patient will be explained all the details about the treatment before the start of applying chemotherapy. So, if your near and dear ones have identified any symptoms, do not hesitate to contact the best doctors in town whenever you see fit. You are rest assured to get the best treatment and remain hale and hearty forever.