The use of chemotherapeutic drugs for cancer treatment is Cancer chemotherapy.
These drugs work by killing or impeding the growth of cancer cells that grow and divide rapidly.
The cancer chemotherapy cures cancer permanently, control the cancer cells growth or ease the cancer symptoms, depending upon the type and stage of cancer.
Cancer chemotherapy can be administered in a variety of ways: Orally- through mouth, Injections – Intravenously (into the vein), intramuscularly (into muscle), Intra-arterial (into the artery), subcutaneously (under the skin), Intralesionally (into the cancerous area), or topically – application of medications onto the skin.
Cancer Chemotherapy Side Effects
Cancer Chemotherapy drugs are designed to target fast-growing cancer cells. As they travel all through the entire body, they also target healthy normal cells that divide quickly. Damage to these healthy cells can lead to various side effects, which can last for short term or long term.
Hair loss, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, loss of appetite, esophagitis, bleeding, infection, mouth sores, dry mouth, liver damage, heart damage, nerve damage, and/or lung damage are some of the short term side effects. These chemotherapy side effects usually subside soon after you stop cancer chemotherapy.
Nerve damage, organ damage, gastrointestinal damage and blood in the urine are long term cancer chemotherapy side effects. These side effects turn out to be apparent long after the completion of cancer chemotherapy.
Mitigation Of Side Effects
- The effective way in controlling the side effects of cancer chemotherapy is Acupuncture. The use of thin, sterile acupuncture needles in certain points on the body reduces the cancer chemotherapy side effects (nausea, vomiting, dry mouth and pain). Bio-feedback and hypnosis also reduce pain [Cancer alternative medicine].
- To ease the pain or burning sensation in the stomach, take a spoon full of arrowroot or kudzu in six ounces of water.
- Palifermin, an intravenous drug, is very helpful in preventing the mouth sores, the side effect of cancer chemotherapy.
- Maitake, a Japan mushroom, increases the white blood cells count and reduces Neutropenia, a common side effect of cancer chemotherapy.
- For nausea, fennel tea is helpful. Both ginger and caraway seed ease the cancer chemotherapy side effect-nausea. To avoid the side effect while undergoing cancer chemotherapy, keep a fresh ginger piece in the mouth; if nauseous, chew it.
- For hair loss, taking Vitamin E before the onset of cancer chemotherapy can often help. Ice caps also prevent hair loss in cancer patients from chemotherapy.
- An antioxidant called Alpha Lipoic Acid help ease the nerve death-neuropathy.
- The enzymes (Beano, probiotics, sena, buckthorn, epsom salts, or high fiber) can help reduce constipation. Walking also helps prevent this side effect.
- Limiting the amount of fat in the diet can help control diarrhea. Glutathione when given intravenously reduce the side effects of cancer chemotherapy such as diarrhea.
- Vitamin B12, beet root juice, and shark liver oil can help reduce or prevent the cancer chemotherapy side effect anemia.
- Melatonin is very helpful for insomnia. Sleep management training also works effectively in cancer patients with insomnia.
- Regular Exercise can help relieve fatigue, nausea, anxiety, and a variety of other side effects.
To mitigate cancer chemotherapy side effects, talk to your doctor before introducing them.