Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment in which drugs are used to destroy cancer cells. There are several forms of chemotherapy drugs, but they all act in the same manner. They block cancer cells from replicating, preventing them from developing and spreading in the body.
Some of the most interesting facts regarding chemotherapy include:
1. Chemotherapy is not painful
Many people think that the treatment of cancer is painful and brings a lot of discomforts. It is one of the most common misconceptions. Chemotherapy is not painful and does not cause discomfort.
Chemotherapy is not exclusively administered in hospitals. You may also receive treatment in the comfort of your home, at your doctor’s office, in a clinic, or in an outpatient wing of a hospital where you will not be required to stay overnight.
2. Chemotherapy drugs can be taken as pills or cream
Chemotherapy drugs come in a variety, in terms of administration. It can be administered through many routes including oral, intravenous, subcutaneous, etc. You can get chemotherapy through
- Orally by taking pills
- Skin via application of cream or lotion
- Injections in the arm, wrist, or leg
- The liquid that can be swallow
All these techniques make the process of chemotherapy less complicated and hence less costly. The cost of chemotherapy is less than other cancer treatment processes.
3. It can be used to reduce the size of the tumor
Other than removing the tumor completely, chemotherapy has different functions including reducing the size of the tumor before surgery. It is also used to treat cancer by relieving the symptoms of other treatments such as surgery or radiation therapy. If the tumor is larger chemotherapy is given to a person before surgery.
When the patient is at the last or advanced stage to cure cancer, chemotherapy is often given to reduce the symptoms and pain. While sometimes chemotherapy is used after surgery to remove or kill any cancerous cell left behind.
4. Side effects vary from person to person
Some of the side effects of chemotherapy are listed below:
- Appetite change
- Hair loss
- Immune suppression
But all these side effects are not prevalent in all patients. Most of the side effects vary according to the type of cancer, stage of cancer, or the dose a person is taking of chemotherapy.
5. Chemotherapy side effects can come after a few months
Chemotherapy can have the following long-term and late-developing side effects:
- Problems with the lungs, heart, and kidneys
- Nerve injury, often known as peripheral neuropathy
- A greater likelihood of developing a second malignancy
6. Side effects can be managed by diet changes
Eating the correct meals in the proper amounts helps to stay energetic during chemotherapy. It will also help you feel less sick.
You can try these diet suggestions:
- When you can, consume a lot of protein and calories. Your hunger may be strongest in the morning, so this is a good time to eat a larger breakfast.
- If solid foods aren’t attractive, consider liquid meal alternatives such as juice, soup, or milk for more calories.
- Yogurt, milkshakes, and ice pops are examples of soft, chilly, or frozen meals.
- Instead of three meals, eat five or six modest ones in a day. This can help you avoid feeling stuffed.
7. You can work while taking chemotherapy
Chemotherapy isn’t necessarily as frightening as you would think. Some people can work while undergoing therapy.
Because you won’t know how you’ll feel until you start, it’s better to keep your schedule flexible.
Working part-time or from home on days when you don’t feel well can help you keep up with your work without being overly weary.
8. It is used to treat other diseases as well
Chemo medicines are sometimes used to treat various illnesses since they are effective at killing rapidly dividing cells.
Chemotherapy can be used to treat the following conditions:
- If you have a bone marrow illness, it can be used to prepare for a bone marrow stem cell transplant.
- In disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, chemo is used to treat an overactive immune system (your body’s fight against pathogens).
9. Vitamins and other supplements can alter the effect of chemotherapy
Vitamins are probably thought of as a safe approach to boost your health, and this is occasionally accurate. High amounts of several vitamins, such as A, C, and E, might, however, be harmful during chemotherapy. According to certain research, they interfere with the way some medications operate.
Consult your doctor about whether vitamins, as well as any other over-the-counter medications or supplements you normally use, are safe to use during therapy.
10. Take vaccinations before starting chemotherapy
Most kinds of chemotherapy, in addition to destroying cancer cells, also kill immune system cells. This increases the likelihood of infection during therapy. To address this issue, you should:
- Before chemo, make sure you’ve gotten all the necessary vaccinations, including the flu shot.
- Make an appointment with your dentist to ensure that you don’t have any germs in your mouth that might cause an infection during treatment.
- Wash your hands frequently while on chemotherapy and encourage your friends and family to do the same.
- Stay away from ill people and pets. Even a little cold might worsen with chemotherapy.