What is Chemotherapy Treatment?
Chemotherapy is one of the treatment options that could be used to treat different types of cancers. Chemotherapy treatment for cancer involves the use of anti cancer medicines (cytotoxic drugs) to destruct or remove the cancer cells. Chemotherapy treatments may also be undertaken for non-cancerous patients, where the dosage remains minimum, which also ensures minimal side effects. More than 200 various kinds of cancer is prevalent in people across the world and there are more than 50 chemotherapy medicines that are used in various ways.
The type of chemotherapy treatment to be used depends on certain facts, but predominantly the following are observed – the kind of cancer the patient is suffering from , the origin of cancer in the body, the appearance of cancer-cells through a microscope, and if it has spread to other parts of the body.
Chemotherapy is also used with other treatments like biological therapies, hormonal therapy, radiotherapy and surgery.Application of chemotherapy may be in various ways, based on the cancer type. The chemotherapy drugs are used accordingly. Mostly chemotherapy drugs are given intravenously i.e. through a vein, using an injection or a drip. This method of chemotherapy administration is called “intravenous chemotherapy”. Drugs given in the form of capsules or tablets is called “oral chemotherapy”. A drug injected into the muscle is known as “intramuscular injection”. When it is injected just below the skin, it is called “subcutaneous injection”. The drugs infused into the body through the above-mentioned means reach the cancer cells in the body through the blood.
To treat certain kind of cancers, chemotherapy drugs may be required to reach the fluid present in the region of spine, this method is called “intrathecal chemotherapy”. When certain body cavities like bladder or pelvic cavity are injected with chemotherapy drugs, it is called “intracavity chemotherapy”. In many of the above-mentioned methods, the chemotherapy drugs are most likely to stay in the injected area, resulting in no harm to the other parts of the body. Chemotherapy creams are also used for certain skin-cancers, wherein only the cells in the region get affected.
At times two kinds of chemotherapy administration methods may also be used, such as intravenous chemotherapy and oral chemotherapy.
Intravenous chemotherapy:There are generally four techniques by which the chemotherapy drugs directly reach the vein. Given below are chemotherapy infusion methods. Cannula – this process involves a little tube, which is inserted into a vein in the arm or into a vein at the back of the hand. Central line –a thin flexible tube is put into the vein under the skin on the chest, next to the heart. PICC line – here thin flexible tube is put through a vein at the upper region of the arm or at the bend, and threaded throughout till the tube’s concluding part is positioned in one of the vein close to the heart. Implantable port – it is also known as portacath. Here a thin, soft synthetic tube is inserted in the vein.
Oral chemotherapy: As a process of the treatment, instructions may be given to have chemotherapy pills or capsules at home. This can be for your entire body or a part of it. As per the doctor’s directions, the drugs may need to be consumed before or after food. In case of any difficulty or discomfort experienced during or after undergoing chemotherapy treatment, the health care practitioner should be contacted for proper advice. The prescribed drugs given by the doctor is generally for the full course of the treatment, and consumption of the same accurately as per the prescription is imperative. While taking the drug for the first time, if any information is not clear, immediate clarification from the pharmacist, doctor or the nurse should be sought.