How Does Chemotherapy Work

Chemotherapy is still considered one of the most effective measures in treating cancer patients. Sometimes, depending on how aggressive cancer has become, it alone can be used to treat mild types of cancers. Treatments will vary based on the individual’s condition. Chemotherapy works well when it’s used in combination of several chemotherapy drugs. It’s usually administered orally or given intravenously to patients.

The common mechanism of chemotherapy is that the drugs not only target the cancerous part but also help to eliminate cancerous cells present elsewhere inside the body.

There are many kinds of chemotherapy drugs that are available in the market and their combinations are widely advised as one of the more effective ways to get rid of cancerous cells. This method of combining several drugs can fight cancer cells in different ways hence making cancer cells ineffective or reducing their growth.

Since cancer basically results of uncontrolled production of cells in the body, chemotherapy treatment tries reducing or even stopping that damage by stopping the aggressive growth of the cells and slowing down their capacity to multiply and increase in numbers further. Chemotherapy is given in several sessions depending upon the type and how aggressive the growth of cancer has become inside the body.

Main Chemotherapy Features

  • It stops the cancer cells from multiplying and increasing
  • Assists the immune system for self-defense.
  • Initiates the growth of essential enzymes in the body(Topoisomerase inhibitors).

Each session of chemotherapy is aimed to work in a different perspective to eliminate cancer. Often, combination of chemotherapy drugs is preferred so that cancerous cells are attacked more effectively because each medicine has its own strengths and perform in their own manners. In an early stage, chemotherapy attempts to reduce the amount of cancer cells because it does not allow the cells to multiply.

With that chemotherapy also has its side effects. There can be cases where chemotherapy drugs may alter the normal functioning of healthy cells present in that area. The harm to the healthy cells can be from mild to severe and the side effects should go away once the chemotherapy is over.

Your doctor might advise you for additional chemotherapy sessions even after the cancerous tumor has been removed. It’s because sometimes surgical removal alone can’t eliminate stray cancer cells that might still be present in clusters in other parts of the body. These small clusters of cancer cells have sufficient nutrients and enzymes which allow them to grow at rapid speed leading to another cancer in other part or parts of the body.

Another reason why chemotherapy is prescribed as a cocktail of medicines is so that various sensitive organs inside the body may experience less adverse reactions. Some may experience several chemotherapy side effects. Below is a list of common reactions to chemo drugs:

Mostly a person suffering from cancer looses his or her hair while being on chemotherapy treatment.

Bone marrow cells may be affected and can cause fatigue and increased risk of infection.

Skin may become dehydrated and dryness of mouth may be present.

A person may suffer from diarrhea, vomiting or stomach aches.

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