Chemotherapy commonly known as chemo- works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells. These cells are known to grow and divide quickly. Chemotherapy entails the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells. Chemo works by restricting cancer cells from growing and dividing to make more cells. Because cancer cells spread and grow quicker than healthy cells, chemo aims at destroying them faster than it destroys most healthy cells.
Chemo uses drugs known as cytotoxins t kill or slow down the growth of cancer cells. The essential thing is that with chemotherapy drugs are that they can stop cancer cells from growing and multiplying. Probably you might have seen cancer patients lack hair. The reason for this is because chemotherapy damages fast growing cells such as those in the hair and inside the mouth. Doctors will apply some chemo drugs in the treatment process.
How it is Given to patients
Chemo drugs are given in a couple of ways depending on cancer type. In most cases, chemo is administered through the veins in the form of an injection, which is commonly known as intravenous chemotherapy. Other drugs may be administered in the form of capsules in what we call oral chemotherapy. We also have the intramuscular injection which involves injecting the patient’s muscles with chemo drugs. Lastly, chemo drugs may be injected under the skin in what we call subcutaneous injection.
The Chemotherapy Plan
There are different kinds of cancer drugs available on the market. Medical oncologists specialize in treating cancer by use of these medications. They may suggest a combination of medicines, because combos may be more efficient than using a single drug.
The chemotherapy drugs, treatment, and dosage will depend on many factors, which include; the type of cancer, the tumor size, its spread and location – which is commonly known as the cancer stage. It will equally depend on your age and general health. Doctors will also factor in any previous cancer treatments, other medical conditions and how well you can cope with certain side effects.
Goals of Chemotherapy Treatment
If a medical oncologist recommends a treatment method for cancer, it is important to understand the goals for treatment when making such treatment decisions. In the treatment of cancer, there are three main goals.- which are the cure, control, and palliation.
It is possible to cure cancer, by destroying it altogether without having it come back. When giving treatment with curative intent, you stand a high chance of having the cancer cells eradicated.
When a cure is not possible, the next approach is the control, whose primary goal is to control the disease. Chemo is administered to shrink or stop cancer cell from further growth. Control can help a cancer patient feel better and live a longer life.
Last is palliation. Palliation chemotherapy focuses on easing the symptoms caused by cancer. This usually happens when cancer is at an advanced stage. This means the cancer is not under control and may spread to other parts of the body. The goal of approaching cancer through palliation treatment is to improve the quality of life of the victim to help them feel better.