Role and Administration of Chemotherapy in Cancer Treatment

The Role of Chemotherapy in Cancer Treatment

Chemotherapy, a medication or combination of drugs, is used to combat cancer cells. Its application varies based on cancer stage, type, and aggressiveness. Here are its common applications:

  1. Adjuvant Therapy: Employed after surgery to lower cancer recurrence risk.
  2. Neoadjuvant Therapy: Administered before surgery to shrink tumors for better surgical outcomes.
  3. Concurrent Therapy: Combined with other treatments like radiation, beneficial for aggressive cancer types.
  4. Palliative Chemotherapy: Used to relieve symptoms and improve life quality in advanced cancer.

Types of Chemotherapy Drugs

Several types of chemotherapy drugs are utilized:

  • Alkylating Agents: Damages cancer cell DNA but can affect bone marrow and may lead to leukemia.
  • Antimetabolites: Damages cells preparing to multiply, commonly used for various cancers.
  • Antitumor Antibiotics: Prevents cancer cell growth but high doses may affect the heart.
  • Topoisomerase Inhibitors: Blocks enzymes vital for cancer cell reproduction.
  • Mitotic Inhibitors: Derives from natural substances, halts cell division and affects both cancer and healthy cells.

Administration of Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is delivered through various methods:

  • Topical Application: Applied via creams onto the skin.
  • Oral Consumption: Swallowed in pill or liquid form.
  • Injection: Delivered directly into muscle or beneath the skin.
  • Intravenous (IV) or Intra-arterial (IA): Administered directly into the veins or arteries.
  • Intraperitoneal (IP): Delivered into the peritoneal cavity.
  • Intrathecal (IT) Chemotherapy: Injection into the cerebrospinal fluid.
  • Oral Consumption: Swallowed in pill or liquid form.

Chemotherapy Side Effects

Chemotherapy affects rapidly growing cells, impacting both cancer and normal cells. This often leads to side effects, such as:

  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Digestive issues (diarrhea, constipation)
  • Fatigue, anemia
  • Hair loss, skin sensitivity, and muscle weakness
  • Increased risk of infection and bruising
  • Mouth sores, changes in appetite, and thinking/memory changes

While most side effects are temporary and treatable, some can have long-term or late-onset effects. The risks of these side effects are outweighed by chemotherapy’s benefits.

For any concerns or specific queries regarding chemotherapy and its side effects, consulting a qualified healthcare professional is essential.

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