Chemotherapy side effects are often significant. And not every chemotherapy drugs causes every chemotherapy side effects. Some common chemotherapy side effects include; fatigue, hair loss, nausea, vomiting etc.
Chemotherapy is a type of drug treatment which involves the use of very powerful chemicals to kill some cells in your body that are fast-growing.
It is often used in the treatment of cancer because cancerous cells grow and multiply quickly than most cells found in the body.
Chemotherapy drugs are sometimes used alone or in combination in treating a wide range of cancers. They are several available chemotherapy drugs.
Although chemotherapy is an effective treatment method for different types of cancer, they are also some side effects of chemotherapy. Some of these side effects are often mild and treatable, while others can lead to serious problems.
Why Chemotherapy Is Done
Chemotherapy treatment is used to kill cancer cells in people with cancer.
Chemotherapy is used in the treatment of cancer for a variety of reasons:
- In preparation for other treatments: chemotherapy may be used to shrink or reduce the size of a tumor. This is so that treatments like surgery and radiation becomes possible. It is sometimes called neoadjuvant therapy by doctors.
- To treat cancer without other treatments. This type of cancer treatment is sometimes used as the primary treatment for getting rid of cancer cells.
- To relieve some signs and symptoms. Chemotherapy is sometimes used to ease some of the signs and symptoms that come with cancer, by killing some of these cancer cells. This is also known as palliative chemotherapy.
- After other treatments to kill cancer cells that are hidden. Chemotherapy can also be used after other types of treatments, such as surgery. This is to kill any cancerous cells remaining in the body. This is also known as adjuvant therapy.
Some chemotherapy drugs can also be used in the treatment of other disease conditions, such as:
- Bone marrow diseases. Diseases affecting the blood cells and bone marrow can be treated with a bone marrow stem cell transplant. Chemotherapy is often done to prepare for a bone marrow stem cell transplant.
- Disorders of the immune system. The drugs in Low doses can helps to control an immune system that is overactive in some disease conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
Chemotherapy Side Effects
Chemotherapy side effects are often significant. Each drug has different side effects. Also, not every drugs cause every chemotherapy side effects. Therefore, it is important you ask your doctor about the side effects to expect from any chemotherapy drug you’re receiving.
Side Effects That Occur During Treatment
Some of the common side effects that are associated with chemotherapy drugs include:
- Hair loss
- Loss of appetite
- Mouth sores
- Bruising easily
Most of these side effects can be treated or even prevented. Also, most of these side effects often subside when the treatment ends.
Some Long-Lasting And Late-Forming Side Effects Of Chemotherapy Drugs.
Some side effects of chemotherapy drugs do not show for months or even years after treatment. These types of chemotherapy side effects often vary and depend on the chemotherapy drug. These side effects of chemotherapy may include:
- Lung tissue damage
- Heart problems
- Nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy)
- Kidney problems
- Risk of a second cancer
How To Prepare For Chemotherapy
Preparation for treatment often depends on the drug you’ll be receiving and how they’ll be given. Specific instructions will be given to you by your doctor on how to prepare for the treatment. You may also need to:
- Undergo some procedures and tests to ensure your body is ready to receive chemotherapy. Some of the tests include; liver function test, heart test, kidney function test, all of which is to know if you’re healthy enough for that particular chemotherapy drug.
- Have a device that is surgically inserted before intravenous chemotherapy.This is necessary if you’ll be receiving your chemotherapy intravenously. Devices such as a pump, catheter or a port may be advised by your doctor.
- Visit your dentist.Your teeth may also be checked for any signs of infections. Treating existing infections helps to reduce problems during treatment. This is because; chemotherapy reduces your body’s infections fighting ability.
- Making plans for help at home and at work. Treatments are also given in an outpatient clinic sometimes. This means that most people will be able to keep working and doing their usual activities during chemotherapy treatments.
- Planning ahead for any side effects. Ask your doctor about the type of side effects to expect during and after treatments. This is so that all appropriate plans can be made.
- Preparing for your first treatment. Ask your doctor or chemotherapy nurses on the type of plans to be made for the treatment. Some chemotherapy drugs may cause nausea, so, eat a light meal beforehand.
Get a friend or family member drive you to and from your first treatment. This is because the drugs may make you sleepy which makes driving hard.
Some Things To Expect
Here are some factors to expect when receiving treatment:
- Which Chemotherapy Drugs You’ll Receive
The drugs you’ll receive will be chosen by your doctor, and it’ll be based on certain factors such as:
- Your overall health
- The stage of the cancer
- The type of cancer
- Your goals and preferences
- If you’ve had any previous cancer treatments
- How The Drugs Are Given
They are other ways to give chemotherapy drugs such as:
- Intravenously (Chemotherapy infusions)
- Topically (chemotherapy creams or gels)
- Orally (Chemotherapy pills).They are taken in either capsule or pill form.
- Intramuscular (Chemotherapy shots). The drugs are injected with a needle.
- Chemotherapy drugs used to treat an area of the body. They are given directly to the part of the body with cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy drugs given directly to the cancer.The drugs are also be given directly to the cancer cells or, given after surgery to the part of the body where the cancer once was.
- How Often Chemotherapy Treatments Will Be Received
How often you’ll receive the treatments is also determined by your doctor. And is also based on what drugs you’ll receive, how well your body recovers after each treatment and also the types of your cancer.
- Where The Treatments Are Received
This factor depends on your situation. treatments is also given:
- In the hospital
- In an outpatient chemotherapy unit
- Also in a doctor’s office
- At home, such as when taking chemotherapy pills
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