Introduction to Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is a form of cancer treatment in which medicines are used to kill the cancer cells. It does this by damaging the cells and preventing them from dividing.
What is Chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy is a form of cancer treatment in which medicines are used to kill the cancer cells. It does this by damaging the cells and preventing them from dividing. Chemotherapy is most commonly used when a cancer has spread (metastasised) or is at high risk of spreading. The effects vary depending on the type of cancer but chemotherapy can either cure the cancer completely, or is used in combination with radiotherapy or before surgery to make those treatment options more effective, or reduces the risk of cancer returning or relieve symptoms.
How is Chemotherapy performed?
Chemotherapy is usually carried out in the hospital as an outpatient procedure and given as an intravenous infusion (IV). In some cases, chemotherapy can be taken as a pill or an injection.
How to prepare for Chemotherapy?
Before the produce you should talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about the side effects chemotherapy. Some people consider purchasing a wig and it is easier to get something to match your hair colour if done prior to the chemotherapy. During treatment, you should try and carry out some gentle exercise to get more energy and keep a diary in which you record your feelings and side effects. You should wear comfortable clothes when you go into hospital as you might be there for a few hours.
What happens after Chemotherapy?
Usually, chemotherapy is given as an outpatient procedure and so you can go home after the procedure. Cancer cells grow faster than most normal cells and so chemotherapy targets this. However, medication cannot distinguish between fast growing cancer cells and fast growing normal cells. Therefore, blood cells, skin cells and cells lining your stomach can also be affected. This leads to the feeling of tiredness, nausea and hair loss. The side effects vary between individuals, and for some, it can be hard to adjust to them. After treatment is finished, your doctor will review your cancer and decide what happens next.