Chemotherapy treatment is the use of chemotherapeutic agents and certain drugs for killing and stopping the growth of cancerous cells in the body. As we know cancerous cells are those cells that grow abnormally fast, consume all body resources, and can also impact and destroy the healthy cells.
When is Chemotherapy Treatment ProcedureUsed?
Chemotherapy involves the use of one or more medications and these may be used individually or in combination for killing the tumour or the cancerous cells. Chemotherapy treatment is used at the some of the best cancer hospitals in India in instances when:
- Cancer cannot be treated through any other treatment procedure like Radiation Therapy or Hormonal Therapy.
- Some other therapeutic procedures like surgery have been done already and the doctor suspects some cancerous cells to still remain inside the body. Hence, chemotherapy may be done after surgery to kill the remaining cancer cells, and here it is called Adjuvant Therapy.
- The doctors want to reduce the size of the cancerous lesions or a tumour so that it can be further and easily treated with other therapies including Radiation Therapy or Surgery. Here chemotherapy is termed as a Neo-Adjuvant Therapy.
- The doctors want to reduce the symptoms and their severity. Here chemotherapy may be termed as Palliative Chemotherapy.
Apart from these medical conditions, chemotherapy treatment may also be used for treating other health conditions including the disorders of the immune system (low dose chemotherapy can be used to treat an overactive immune system) and for certain bone marrow diseases.
Side Effects of Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy, an effective treatment of cancer, involves the uses of strong drugs and medications and there may be one or several side effects of the therapy. Side, adverse, or toxic effects related to chemotherapy may occur within minutes, weeks, or even years after the therapy is over. Some of the common side effects of chemotherapy include:
Immune System Suppression
Use of chemotherapeutic agents and chemotherapy regimen can suppress the immune system, as it can paralyse the bone marrow, thereby leading to a deficit of the platelets and white blood cells. Those undergoing chemotherapy are therefore required to practice better hygiene at all levels and in all aspects of everyday life.
Chemotherapy often targets the lining of the intestine walls and oral cavities. The killing of the fast-growing cells and chemotherapy may lead to symptoms including vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhoea and others. The patient may lose a desire to eat, and may also suffer from dehydration and malnutrition because of frequent vomiting or loss of appetite.
Chemotherapy may be myelosuppressive and cause the depression of the bone marrow. A reduction in the RBCs may lead to anaemia. Kidney dysfunction, destruction of the RBCs, excessive bleeding, and nutritional deficiencies may also cause anaemia.
Chemotherapy can be a cause of anaemia, which can lead to fatigue and weakness, and may also cause other conditions post-chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy may cause alopecia or hair loss and it may also be responsible for the thinning of hair. The hair regrows after some time of chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy may also have certain late-developing side effects and these include damage to the lungs, kidneys or nerves, and infertility among others. You should talk to your doctor to know more about these conditions and whether you are exposed to the risk.
Chemotherapy involves powerful medications and high doses and you may have to undergo certain checks to ensure whether you have the potential to receive the treatment or not. A leading hospital and an expert oncologist doctor in India can only provide you with the right kind of cancer treatment including chemotherapy.