Cancer is among few dreaded life-threatening diseases currently on the global radar. Treatments for cancer are few modes like radiation therapy, hormone therapy, immunotherapy and chemotherapy. Of which, chemotherapy is a treatment option for treating cancer by killing cancerous cells using drugs.
Chemotherapy is meant to curb the spread of cancerous cells in the remaining body and also to eradicate existing cells which are affected by cancer. Chemotherapy is given to patients in cycles. A single cycle can last for a single or multiple days. It is followed by a few weeks of rest as considered by your doctor. The course of treatments of chemotherapy lasts for a period of 3-6 months. Each leg of the cycle can last anywhere between a few hours and few days.
It is important to let your doctor know if you are on any type of medication like laxatives or over-the-counter-tablets. The doctor may also make you undergo certain blood tests for checking your reaction to them. It is also better to discuss the side effects as well as benefits of chemotherapy with your doctor beforehand. He also notifies you about what foods to avoid and what to consume for helping the chemotherapy have best effects.
The chemotherapy treatment is typically decided by your oncologist depending on type, intensity of your cancer, the rate at which it has spread over your body and of course your general well-being. The drugs administered in course of chemotherapy are given in following different ways:
- Chemotherapy pills- These are pills prescribed by your doctor in the form of medicines or capsules.
- Intravenous fluid- Chemotherapy is administered through a tube inserted into a vein in your arm.
- Injection- Chemotherapy is passed into your body just like how a normal injection is given using a needle.
- Gel or cream- Chemotherapy for few skin cancers is possible through application of a gel or cream onto your skin.
Chemotherapy has its benefits as well as side effects. It is better to know the side-effects and be prepared for the onslaught of the same. Few of which are as mentioned below:
- Hair loss- This is the most common side effect of chemotherapy.
- Aches- Aching joints, muscles, head and fingers happens after chemotherapy too.
- Constipation- Chemotherapy drugs are likelier to give you constipation and an affected digestion system.
- Vomiting- Bouts of vomiting and a general nauseous feeling with a lack of appetite occurs as a result of chemotherapy.
Post chemotherapy, you are likely to feel tired and fatigued. So it is better to make prior arrangements to go home, rather than drive yourself. Resting after the chemotherapy is also mandatory.