Being diagnosed with cancer can be scary and bewildering because of the uncertainty of what the future may hold. Fortunately, there are treatments like chemotherapy that can help in the fight against the disease. But what exactly is chemotherapy?
What Is Chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy or ‘chemo’ refers to chemical treatments that are used to treat disease, but they are frequently used to stop the spread of cancerous cells. Chemotherapy kills fast-growing cancer cells and prevents them from multiplying. It can also be used to ease symptoms of the disease.
There are many different types of chemotherapy drugs that can be prescribed, but the choice depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. The health of the patient also influences the type of chemotherapy drugs doctors recommend. Chemotherapy may be done alone or in combination with other cancer treatments.
How Does Chemotherapy Work?
Chemotherapy drugs are commonly administered intravenously so that they can be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. The drugs travel throughout the body to kill the cancer cells, but unfortunately, they affect the healthy cells as well (learn more).
Chemotherapy is typically done in 2-6 week cycles to ensure that the body has enough time to recover between treatments.
Are There Any Side-Effects?
Yes, there are side-effects related to the use of chemotherapy. These include hair loss, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, taste changes, loss of appetite, and mood swings. Patients typically feel fine in the hours following chemotherapy but reactions start to occur about 4-6 hours after treatment.
Side-effects can be managed with the help of complementary and alternative medicines. Eating the right foods and getting regular exercise is also beneficial.
Would you like to learn more about chemotherapy? Search our directory to find a practice in your area.
If you are in the Sierra Vista, AZ area Cochise Oncology is our featured practice.
You can reach them at www.cochiseoncology.com, or by calling (520) 201-5140.