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The Treatments (Part Three): Chemotherapy

Hello everyone and welcome back to RadTec Medical Devices. Today, we will be discussing our third (and last) part coverage on the three main treatment options for cancer. For today’s topic, we will be going over chemotherapy. If you would like to learn more about the two other treatment options, radiation and surgical therapy, links will be provided below.

Chemotherapy uses drugs and medicines to stop the growth of cancer cells. The drugs target the tumors by killing or halting the process of the cancer cell multiplication. The effectiveness of chemotherapy will always depend on many factors. Things such as its location, the stage of cancer and even the type will have varying results. Factors such as a patient’s age and overall health will also be considered.  From pills, ointments, injections, and many other forms of medicine, there are many ways to receive chemotherapy. As with the other treatments, chemotherapy can be given alone or with other treatments, such as surgery and radiation therapy.

Chemo_Drugs

(Chemo Drugs) Image by The Irish Times {https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/health-family/happy-birthday-75-years-of-chemotherapy-is-worth-celebrating-1.3200991}

Now that we know how chemotherapy is given, lets discuss how exactly it fights off cancer. While the different types of drugs have the same goal, they take different approaches to eliminating the cancer.  One method uses certain drugs that cut the flow of enzymes and hormones needed to multiply cancer cells. This method is especially used to treat breast, blood, and ever head and neck cancer. Another treatment method called Alkylating agents, uses drugs to damage the cell’s reproduction by targeting its DNA. This method is used to help with cancer located in the lungs, breast, and even Hodgkin disease, leukemia, lymphoma, and many others. Antimetabolites, another tactic, blocks a cell’s growth during the phase when its chromosomes are being copied. if you would like to learn more about these methods and many others, the American Cancer Society has got you covered. Link will be provided below.

While chemotherapy is effective and tends to be the most used form of treatment, it isn’t without issues. Because of how strong these drugs are at killing cancer cells, it also might start damage normal cells in the process. The cells that aid in hair growth and stomach digestion are possible areas that could be affected, leading to side effects such as hair loss and weight loss.

Other side effects include but not limited to:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Anemia
  • Nerve/Muscle Issues
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased Appetite
Screen-Shot-2016-12-25-at-2.47.07-PM

(Side Effects) Image by Evicting Cancer {http://evictingcancer.com/5-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-the-side-effects-of-chemo-andor-radiation/}

Remember that not everyone will experience these side effects and doctors do their best to use enough chemo drugs to kill the cancer cells while limiting the damage to the body. If your doctor decides to take the course of chemotherapy, a plan will typically be drawn up to make sure which method the patient will be taking and for how long.

Discussing chemotherapy, surgical therapy and radiation therapy are always good places to start when beginning research on possible treatments for cancer patients. We felt the need to cover these three methods because information is good foundation when starting the road to recovery. These three methods are not the only way in combating cancer but they will most likely be where your doctor wants to start. If you are interested in learning more about alternative methods or even new-age treatment, let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading and we will see you next time!

Links
References

“How Chemotherapy Drugs Work.” American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/treatment-types/chemotherapy/how-chemotherapy-drugs-work.html.

“How Does Chemotherapy Work? Including Oral Chemotherapy and Immunotherapy.” Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 24 May 2017,                                                                                                        blog.dana-farber.org/insight/2014/11/how-does-chemotherapy-work/

“Side Effects of Chemotherapy.” Cancer.Net, 3 Nov. 2017,                                          www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/how-cancer-treated/chemotherapy/side-effects-chemotherapy.

Daniel

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