What is chemotherapy? In short, it is the treatment of cancer but there is a lot more that you need to know before starting a course. This is something that you need to look into to understand the way it works and also understand the side effects of the treatment.
What Is Chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy is a drug that is used to help with the treatment of cancer. It is sometimes used with other drugs to create a standardized regime for cancer treatment. It acts by helping with killing the cells that are unhealthy and abnormal; this helps to kill off the cancerous cells, which will usually rapid pass around the body. It is possible to reach cells all over the body, including in the hair and in the bone marrow. Unfortunately, this also leads to some of the most common side effects of the treatment.
There are advancements into treating cancer, which involves targeted therapy, where certain cells are targeted instead of all of them. This is not chemotherapy but works in a similar way.
There have been a variety of drugs and minerals that have been used in history as a way to treat cancer. Some of those were not even originally designed for the treatment of the disease.
For example, mustard gas was used for chemical warfare but was proven to aid with suppressing the production of blood.
Nitrogen mustards were then used during the Second World War, but they were linked to helping with reducing the growth of white blood cells. From them, the development could be made to use the compounds to help with treating diseases like cancer. The first type of chemotherapy was developed from this compound and from that, more drugs were developed and created.
When looking into what is chemotherapy, it is worth noting that the term was not originally for cancer treatments; the term was used to describe treatment through the use of chemicals, which helps with killing micro-organisms. The term has been used to name the drug which treats syphilis and even penicillin was referred to as chemotherapy.
How Is Chemotherapy Given
There are 2 ways in which the drugs can be administered. The most common is the one administered intravenously – through an IV drip. The other form is orally, which is common when the treatment proves to work and the condition starts to go into remission.
There are different forms of chemotherapy and each one offers its own pros and cons. At the same time, each one is effective in different ways.
The drugs are prescribed for different amounts of time and at different levels. This will depend on many different factors about your disease, such as the type of cancer that you are suffering from and the stage that you are at.
When considering what is chemotherapy, you will also need to look into the different types and health factors that will affect your ability to take it.
Side Effects of Chemotherapy
Everybody knows that there are side effects to chemotherapy and there are some that are more well known than others. However, not everyone will suffer from the side effects. This depends on how aggressive the doctors need to be with treatment and what your health is like generally. It is possible to take other drugs to be able to help with subsiding the possible downsides.
The most common problems with chemotherapy are nausea, vomiting and loss of hair. These are the ones that people hear about all of the time but there are others that are less well known. Fatigue is a common side effect of having chemotherapy.
A low platelet count is also common, which can lead to frequent bruises and the inability to keep wounds from becoming infected. Other, lesser known side effects are sexual changes and dry skin.
The best thing that you can do is check for the side effects and make a note of any of those that you suffer from. This should be shown to your doctor, who will then be able to determine whether the treatment is the right one for you or whether you should look at something else.