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Things you Need to Know About Chemotherapy

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Aug 30, 2012
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)
Quick Bites

  • Chemotherapy is administered to a cancer patient to kill the rogue cells.
  • One of the common downsides of chemotherapy is hair loss.
  • Some chemotherapy drugs may tax you physically.
  • Chemotherapy increases the likelihood of cardiac arrests.

More

Chemotherapy is administered to a cancer patient to kill the rogue cells in a specific part of the body. Being the most common cancer treatment, your oncologist may suggest you to avail chemotherapy treatment, however, it is advisable that you read about the things you need to know about chemotherapy before opting for it. 

things you need to know about chemotherapy

 

Types of Chemotherapy Treatments


Your oncologist will introduce you to three different chemotherapy treatment options and will suggest the one appropriate to your cancer type and stage.

  • Adjuvant Chemotherapy— Being one of the most sought-after chemotherapy type, it forestalls the further growth of cancerous cells. In this chemotherapy type, your oncologist will either use a combination of two or more chemotherapy drugs or prescribe a single drug on the basis of your cancer type and stage.  Adjuvant chemotherapy can last for several weeks. The duration of the treatment depends on the patient’s response to it.  
  • High-Dose Chemotherapy— This chemotherapy treatment is resorted to if you have been diagnosed during the last stage of cancer. You’ll receive higher doses of chemotherapy drugs over a period of several weeks.
  • Palliative Chemotherapy— The key idea behind this treatment is to reduce the severity of various repercussions of cancer, especially pain instead of just reducing the size of tumour.

 

Cost of Chemotherapy


The expense of chemotherapy treatment depends on varied factors, such as

  • cost of chemotherapy drugs
  • frequency of chemotherapy sessions
  • duration of dosing sessions
  • and location of the patient i.e. whether he is an out-patient or in-patient. In-patients have to pay more due to hospital charges.


Side-effects of Chemotherapy


Short-term Side-effects

  • Hair Loss— One of the common downsides of chemotherapy, hair loss affects almost every cancer patient during the treatment.
  • Pain— Some chemotherapy drugs may tax you physically causing nerve damage due to which you’ll experience sensation of burning pain all over your body, especially in the toes and fingers.
  • Mouth and Throat Sores— Chemotherapy treatment and the drugs used may damage the tissue lining of the throat and mouth, resulting in sores. They may go away after the completion of the treatment.


Long-Term Side-Effects

  • Cardiac Concerns— Chemotherapy increases the likelihood of cardiac arrests. It happens because one of the chemotherapy drugs called Adriamycin weakens the cardiac muscles, thereby diminishing the heart’s ability to pump enough blood.
  • Fatigue— Chemotherapy may drive home prolonged fatigue and feeling of nausea. For some, it may end soon after the treatment while for others, it may persist longer.
  • Infertility— It is the primary concern associated with chemotherapy, especially among young people, however, it is not a common concern for those going through chemotherapy.


Sexual Activity and Chemotherapy


It is considered safe to engage in any sort of sexual activity while you are undergoing chemotherapy, however, it is always wise to let your oncologist know about it in advance.  Remember that the patient’s sexual partner stands at an increased risk of developing allergies and infections, thus consult your doctor to know ways to protect your partner from the risk of various infections.

 

Apart from the above mentioned points, you can ask your oncologist about the varied aspects of chemotherapy.

 

Image source:Getty

Read more articles on Cancer.

 

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