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What Do You Need to Know About Chemotherapy?

A cancer diagnosis can feel scary at times, but starting chemotherapy treatment can also become overwhelming for some patients. It can cause many side effects, but these side effects aren't the same for everyone and vary from patient to patient. But if oncology doctors in Noida recommend chemotherapy, this usually means that the benefits are likely to outweigh any adverse effects. However, it is normal to feel worried or overwhelmed about having chemotherapy. That's why this blog will give you all the relevant information and prepare you for what's ahead.

What is chemotherapy?

Cancer has become a common problem nowadays and affects people from all age groups. It's caused by cell mutations that interfere with a set of instructions that tell the cell to grow and divide. These mutations can cause the cell to grow faster than healthier cells and form a tumour. These malignant tumours gradually replace all the healthy cells and can lead to severe organ damage.

Chemotherapy is to treat cancer by targeting cells multiplying abnormally. It not only kills the existing cancer cells but also prevents cancer from dividing and growing further.

Chemotherapy can also be used in combination with other therapies like targeted therapies to improve their outcomes and to destroy the remaining cancer cells. Oncology specialist in Greater Noida uses cytotoxic drugs that are easily absorbed by fast-growing cells. Hence, some healthy cells may also get damaged during chemotherapy.

When is chemotherapy performed?

Chemotherapy can be given during different stages of cancer treatment for various reasons, which are:

  • To cure a cancer
  • To shrink a tumour before surgery
  • To prevent the growth of any remaining cancer cells after surgery
  • With other treatments to improve the outcome
  • To alleviate symptoms in advanced cancer

What are the types of chemotherapy?

There are 100 types of chemotherapy drugs that can be used alone or in combinations, depending on cancer's type and stage. These drugs are categorized into specific groups based on their function. Each drug targets different phases of the cell cycle and requires distinct administration methods for each cancer. Hence, our team of oncology doctors in Noida determine the most effective chemotherapeutic drug for better outcomes and fewer side effects.

How is chemotherapy given?

Depending on cancer's type, stage and drug, different routes can be taken for administering chemotherapy. There have been some cases where chemotherapy was injected directly into the fluid of the spinal cord. Irrespective of the process, these drugs can travel through the bloodstream to reach cancerous cells. These processes are:

Intravenous (IV) chemotherapy. Most chemotherapy drugs require injection directly into a vein and are called intravenous or IV chemotherapy. It can take a few minutes to a few hours, and you may also have to wear or carry a small pump for continuous infusion chemotherapy.

Oral chemotherapy. These drugs come in the forms of a pill, capsule, or liquid and are taken by mouth. It means that you won't have to go to the clinic and take your doses at home.

Injected chemotherapy. In this therapy, you will receive the drugs as a shot in a muscle or injected under the skin. These shots take only a few minutes, and you can also get these shots in the arm, leg, or belly.

Chemotherapy into an artery. In some cases, chemotherapy drugs are injected into arteries that go straight to cancer. These are called intra-arterial or IA chemotherapy and provide better outcomes in some types of cancer.

Chemotherapy into the peritoneum or abdomen. In some cases, oncologists place medication directly in the abdomen or near the peritoneum. These are usually administered to treat cancers in the intestines, liver, and stomach.

Topical chemotherapy. It's a type of chemotherapy that comes in a form of cream. It can be put directly on the skin and is usually recommended for skin cancers or melanoma.

Who is on the chemotherapy team?

During chemotherapy, a team of highly trained medical professionals work in conjunction to provide cancer patients with the most effective treatment and outcomes. It may include the following:

Medical oncologist. A medical oncologist specializes in treating cancer with medications and drugs. Hence, they will plan and execute your complete treatment while leading other team members.

Oncology nurse. An oncology nurse specializes in providing care and treatment for cancer patients, including giving chemotherapy. They will also keep track of your health during treatment and help in managing any side effects.

Other health care professionals. Experts from other specialities, such as rehabilitation therapists or nutritionists will also provide supportive care and guidance during chemotherapy.

What are the side effects of chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy can also affect fast-growing healthy cells, such as hair and skin cells and cause various side effects. However, these side effects depend on the drug, cancer type and patient's overall health and history. Some of the common symptoms are:

  • Sore mouth
  • Skin Changes
  • Taste changes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Changes in bowel habit
  • Fatigue
  • Infection
  • Bleeding and bruising
  • Infertility and reduced libido.

However, most of these side effects are temporary and usually go away after the treatment. So, consult our oncology doctors in Noida to understand the severity of these side effects and manage your cancer effectively.