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What Is Chemotherapy?

An elderly woman with cancer hugging her husband

What is Chemotherapy?

  1. A drug-based treatment for cancer
  2. Are given in different ways
  3. Uses blood tests to ensure you can handle the side effects
  4. An invasive treatment


What is chemotherapy using the simplest terms? Chemotherapy is the most recommended treatment for cancer. It’s a tried and true method that uses cancer-killing drugs to prevent cancer cells from growing. This type of treatment is used when the benefits outweigh the side effects. For World Cancer Awareness Day, learn more about chemotherapy by scrolling down for more information.


Chemotherapy Is A Drug-Based Treatment For Cancer

Different ribbons symbolizing the different types of cancer

Normal and healthy bodies function through cell division and growth. Under the circumstances of cancer, normal cells start reproducing in uncontrolled patterns. When this production of cells isn’t properly addressed, they will start taking the space of useful cells. This overproduction damages the body and makes the patient weak.

Chemotherapy is just one of the choices for a patient’s treatment plan. Alongside radiation therapy and surgery, chemotherapy can target specific sites within the body that are affected by cancer. It does this by using medicinal drugs that prevent cell division. The drugs also target the cancer cell’s food source, which includes enzymes and hormones.

There are many reasons why your doctor may recommend chemotherapy as a treatment. If you have any current cancerous tumors, chemotherapy can help shrink the tumors prior to surgery. Chemotherapy also has post-surgery benefits. The treatment can remove any residual cancer cells after your procedure, which prevents its recurrence. Chemotherapy drugs can also slow the progression of cancer and reduce symptoms when you’re in the late-stage.


Chemotherapy Drugs Are Given In Different Ways

A hand with an IV getting chemotherapy

The treatment begins with a comprehensive plan from your doctor. The plan will be laid out, which will be inclusive of how many sessions will occur and how much you need. Some treatments can range from single doses a day to a weekly basis depending on the stage and severity of your condition. Doctors also recommend scheduling a session with a counselor to help manage the mental and emotional impact of cancer.

Most patients can receive chemotherapy in the hospital or clinic, but it can also be taken at home. Chemotherapy drugs can be administered through intravenous infusions. You will need an IV within your arm or a device in your chest to administer the drugs directly into your bloodstream. Chemotherapy pills and chemotherapy shots are also available for treatment. However, if you have a specific type of cancer, different forms of chemotherapy are required. Those with skin cancer would greatly benefit from chemotherapy creams to target the affected skin cells.


Chemotherapy Uses Blood Tests To Ensure You Can Handle The Side Effects

A doctor taking a blood sample

Before undergoing chemotherapy, you need blood tests to assess if you can handle the effects of the treatment. It is important to test the blood to make sure that it’s within normal levels. If you have a low-count of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, chemotherapy might not be a recommended treatment. You may have to wait and make an effort to get your blood cells back to normal levels. It’s also important to have blood tests done during chemotherapy to make sure that your blood and blood cell levels are within healthy numbers.

Liver health also tends to be affected during chemotherapy. The liver is responsible for breaking down chemotherapy drugs during treatment. You could potentially run into a number of problems that can be triggered by an overloaded liver. When this happens, you need some time to wait for your liver to recover before going through another session. Make sure your blood and liver health is stable before going through chemotherapy.


Chemotherapy Is An Invasive Treatment

A nurse and doctor checking on a patient after chemotherapy

You need to be aware that chemotherapy is an invasive treatment for cancer. Going through this treatment can have adverse effects on your body during sessions and after it. This is because chemotherapy drugs target both cancer cells as well as normal cells. However, this invasive cancer treatment can be beneficial to help cure those with early-stage cancer. The side effects can be worthwhile for a number of patients due to this benefit. Any symptoms and side effects will also disappear once post-chemotherapy treatment ends.


Key Takeaway

What is chemotherapy? It is a treatment that uses medicinal drugs to limit the growth of cancer cells. It is also an invasive treatment that comes with a number of side effects. Treating cancer can come in a multitude of ways, and chemotherapy is just one of the options available.

Take note, knowing is just the start of your awareness. It’s important to make an effort against this dangerous disease and overcome obstacles with comprehensive cancer treatment facilities. Take a look at the Perpetual Help Medical Center’s Comprehensive Cancer Care.

Our Comprehensive Cancer Care is a one-step cancer center that gives you quality treatments and diverse options to treat different types of cancer. With the expertise of HOPE Institute and our Dr. Robert P. Dulay Radiation Oncology Center, you will be able to get proper treatment faster and with the utmost accuracy.

Visit PHMC’s HOPE Institute-Cancer and Infusion Center now for a specially-made treatment plan!

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