How People Can Survive Chemotherapy

John | Health and Fitness | Friday, September 12th, 2008

Chemotherapy is treatment with anti-cancer drugs, given to destroy or control cancer cells. A single drug may be given or several different drugs may be given together. Chemotherapy medications, regardless of how they’re given, generally travel in your bloodstream and throughout your entire body. The intravenous route is the most common, allowing chemotherapy drugs to spread quickly through your system.

Chemotherapy is usually administered for approximately 6-12 months or until a patient achieves a plateau response or stable disease, especially if the therapy is well tolerated. When used as induction therapy, usually 3 or 4 cycles are given prior to collection of stem cells. Chemotherapy is delivered many different ways depending on the drugs and treatment. Intravenous means delivered by inserting a needle in a vein, orally is by mouth, and via catheter or port is by a tube inserted into the chest via a surgical procedure. Chemotherapy can make you feel tired. This fatigue may or may not worsen as you are treated with more cycles of chemotherapy. Obviously that is when understanding chemotherapy treatment and Chemotherapy drugs is pretty important

Chemotherapy usually has some effect on the immune system. With many chemotherapy protocols, it is not unusual for the oncologist to delay a cycle if a patients white count is below a certain level. Chemotherapy drugs take longer to have a complete effect, sometimes several weeks or up to a few months. Because they alter the immune response that causes the disease, they can slow down significantly and sometimes stop the course of the rheumatic disease for which they are prescribed.

Cell types that are normally rapidly dividing, such as those in the bone marrow and in the lining of the intestine, tend to be hardest hit. Death of the normal cells produces some of the common side-effects of chemotherapy. Cells grow by dividing. Chemotherapy works by damaging cancer cells that are dividing.

Drugs are combined so that there are few overlapping side effects, to make the treatment more tolerable. These combinations are then tested in clinical trials to see how effective they are. Drugs can be given and blood samples can be taken through them. Drugs affect “younger” tumors (i.e. With succeeding generations of tumor cells, differentiation is typically lost, growth becomes less regulated, and tumors become less responsive to most chemotherapeutic agents.

Cancer is a disease characterised by important metabolic alterations. Not only these adaptative changes give higher proliferative capacity to cancer cells, but they also contribute to higher resistance to chemotherapeutic agents. Cancers are made up of fast-growing cells. Other fast-growing cells, such as the cells that make up hair follicles, are also affected.

Ask your doctor and nurse any questions you may have about chemotherapy. Also don’t hesitate to tell them about any side effects you may have.

Chemotherapy drugs are given intravenously, by injection or by mouth. Chemotherapy is often used alone, or in conjunction with radiation therapy or surgery. Chemotherapy drugs work by interfering with the ability of cancer cells to divide and reproduce themselves. Chemotherapy can be delivered by the bloodstream to reach cancer cells all over the body, or it can be administered directly to specific cancer sites.

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