Chemotherapy is the use of medicine to destroy cancerous cells. It acts avoiding it to grow and multiply into even more cells. Cancerous cells grow and divide faster than healthy cells, chemotherapy destroys it faster than most of healthy cells.
How Chemotherapy treats Cancer?
Physicians use chemotherapy in different ways at different times.
- Before surgery or radiotherapy to reduces tumors. Physicians call this neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
- After surgery or radiotherapy to kill any left cancerous cell. Doctors call this adjuvant chemotherapy.
- As the only treatment. For example, to treat cancer in the blood or lymphatic system, such as leukemia and lymphoma.
- For cancer that appear again after treatment, called recurrent cancer.
- For cancer that disseminates to other parts of the body, called metastatic cancer.
Objectives of a Chemotherapy
Objectives of a chemotherapy depend on the kind of cancer and how far it has disseminated. Sometimes, the main goal is to destroy all types of cancer and avoid it to reappear. If this is not possible, chemotherapy may slow the growing of cancer.
Slowing or delaying cancer growth with chemotherapy helps to control the symptoms caused by cancer. Chemotherapy, dispensed with the objective of delaying the growth of cancer sometimes is called palliative chemotherapy.
Where can it be administered?
Your medical attention team can dispense chemotherapy at the clinic, doctor’s office or at the hospital. It is possible that you can take the treatment at your home with some kinds of chemotherapy.
How long does it lasts?
Chemotherapy is generally administered during a specific time, for example six months or a year, it is possible that you receive chemotherapy as long as it works for you.
Secondary effects of many drugs are very strong to be dispensed on a daily basis. Physicians normally administer these drugs with pauses, in a way that you have wait to rest and recover before your next treatment. This allow the cells to heal.
How is it dispensed?
Intravenous Chemotherapy (i.v.). A lot of drugs require a shot directly to the veins. Treatment lasts from some minutes to hours.
Oral Chemotherapy. Some drugs can be taken orally. It can be compressed, a pill or liquid. This means you can pick up your medicine at a drugstore and take you home. Oral treatment for cancer is now more frequent, some of there can be administered daily and others with less frequency.
Injected Chemotherapy. You may receive the chemotherapy as a shot. This shot is generally administered in a muscle, it may be on a leg or arm, sometimes abdominal.
Arterial Chemotherapy. An artery is a blood vessel that transport blood from the heart to other parts of the body. Sometimes, chemotherapy gets injected on an artery that goes straight to the cancer.