Chemotherapy is the method of cancer treatment in which oncologists use medicines to destroy the cancerous cells. These medicines vary according to the patient’s condition and type of cancer. Chemotherapy prevents the cancer cells from multiplying and dividing further. However, the results of chemotherapy don’t come without a cost, as they can damage the healthy cells as well.
Chemotherapy and its Types
Before you book your appointment with an oncologist, it is better to know a few things about the chemotherapy process. There are two main types of chemotherapy, i.e. standard therapy, traditional chemotherapy, or cytotoxic chemotherapy.
Oncologists mainly use chemotherapy before radiation therapy or surgery to shrink the tumours, and doctors refer to it as neoadjuvant chemotherapy. It is again used after surgery to destroy the remaining cancer cells, and the process is called adjuvant chemotherapy.
Oncologists broadly use chemotherapy to treat leukaemia and lymphoma. It is also used to treat recurrent cancer, the one which comes back after treatment and even for metastatic cancer, which spreads to the other parts of the body.
Cancer Treatment Through Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy dose depends upon the extent of the spread of cancer. Generally, it is used to annihilate the cancerous cells and prevent them from recurring. Another type of chemotherapy, which oncologists use for delaying the growth of the cancerous cells, is known as palliative chemotherapy.
Overall, the chemotherapy plan depends on the following factors:
● Size, type, location, and spread of the tumour
● Age and general health
● Ability to cope with side effects
● Other medical conditions
● Any previous cancer treatments
Chemotherapy medicines are generally orally administered but are also available by the other means. Chemotherapy cycles are usually 3-week long in which the chemotherapy is given on the first day, and there is a three week recovery period. Some patients are given dose-dense chemotherapy in which the cycles are smaller, but the chances of side effects are high.
Chemotherapy is widely used for cancer treatment in India, and its types can be classified as follows:
- Intravenous chemotherapy: Also known as continuous infusion chemotherapy, it involves the injection of drugs directly into the veins.
- Oral chemotherapy: Drugs are in the form of pills, capsules, or liquids. Also, the cycles are smaller compared to the former method.
- Injected chemotherapy: When the drugs are given in the form of shots, it is called injected chemotherapy. The shots are administered under the skin or into the muscle, either in the limbs, or the abdomen.
Two other types of chemotherapy are artery admissible, and chemotherapy in the peritoneum and they are opted for based on the condition of the cancerous cells.
Cancer treatment in India has become more affordable and successful due to the new methods and drugs, and chemotherapy is also one of them. In the last decade, the fatality percentage has also decreased because more patients are successfully recovering from the disease.