The process of using drugs to kill cancer cells is known as chemotherapy. It involves administering intravenous drip into the patient’s vein but the drugs are also given as tablets. The billions of cells which make up our body tissues cease to divide after a point of time and come into a resting phase. They divide only in times of damage repair. But if these cells divide abnormally, they create an unhealthy mass of cells which need to be destroyed with cancer treatments using chemotherapy.
Based on the diagnosis of the patient, including his age, general health and the type of cancer, chemotherapy treatment is used. It can be in the following ways:
Usually, chemotherapy for cancer treatment involves intravenous administration of drugs. Some of the ways in which it is done are:
Cannula – It is a thin plastic tube around 1.5 cm long inserted into your vein, arm or hand. The intravenous drip is attached to the cannula, which is removed as soon as the drugs have been given.
Central line – Also known as Hickman line, Central line is a central catheter. It is one which can stay for long and is also called semi-permanent for this reason. It goes into the large vein close to the heart and can stay put for six months if needed. Inserting these lines may require the use of a local anaesthetic if you are in the radiology department. If you are in the operation theatre, a general anaesthetic would be given.
Central line can be used for chemotherapy as well as taking blood. It is especially needed if you need chemotherapy for more than 24 hours, it is likely that you will continue needing it for a long time, other forms of chemo treatment are harmful or using a cannula in your veins is proving to be difficult. The central line is removed once chemotherapy treatment is complete.
Chemotherapy works by damage the cancer cells as they divide. Inside every cell there is a nucleus in its centre in the form of a dark blob. There are genes inside the nucleus which are copied every time the cell divides to create new cells. In order to prevent the cancer cells to divide further, chemotherapy drugs damage the genes that exist inside the cell’s nucleus.
The procedure to be followed for cancer treatment depends on the condition of the patient.
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