Cancer is a big, big part of so many, many lives these days. And as many of those people are currently going through the experience of chemotherapy, I have decided to write about that experience, in the hopes that I can be of some assistance to those going through it.
First of all, I’d just like to say that I know what I’m talking about. Doctors and nurses are absolutely wonderful, and personally, speaking of the center here in Kitchener, I just cannot sing their praises enough, but I also say that they don’t understand because they haven’t been through it. It is difficult to give advice on something you don’t understand. So suffice to say, I’ve been there and been through it. I know what I’m talking about.
So, you’re signed up for chemotherapy. Oh my God! Or is that how you feel? That pretty well sums up how I felt. I mean that’s really “strong” stuff they pump into your veins. Are you wondering whether the cure is worse than the disease? Well, if thoughts like that are going through your head, you’re not alone. That was certainly going through my mind.
I’m a firm believer in the power of the mind to create whatever happens in our life, but obviously I was not yet in charge! Certainly I didn’t create cancer for myself, deliberately and yet I did create it. Perhaps so did you. I was vigilantly working on my thoughts, but I came to the decision that I needed to accept the help of modern medicine and that once I achieved some level of recovery, it would be easier to take charge of my mind.
Chemotherapy is a general term for treatments that use chemical agents (drugs) to kill cancer cells. Many different kinds of drugs are used, either alone or in combination, to treat different cancers. The specific drug or combination used is chosen to best combat the type and extent of cancer present.
What is Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy drugs are given for several reasons
1. To treat cancers that respond well to chemotherapy
2. To decrease the size of tumors for easier and safer removal by surgery
3. To enhance the cancer-killing effectiveness of other treatments, such as radiation therapy
4. In higher dosages, to overcome the resistance of cancer cells
5. To control the cancer and enhance the patient’s quality of life.
Types of Chemotherapy Drugs
Common types of cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs include :-
* Alkylating agents modify/damage cancer cell DNA and block the replication of DNA, therefore interfering with the growth of cancer cells.
Other drugs used in cancer therapy include :-
1) Hormonal agents target the hormonal processes that may stimulate cancer cell growth and/or survival.
2) Biological agents affect natural processes that may stimulate cancer cell growth and survival.
3) Immunotherapy is intended to boost the recognition of cancer cells by the body’s immune system, thereby helping the body to kill cancer cells……
How are chemotherapy drugs given ?
Chemotherapy is given in different ways depending on the cancer type and the drugs used.Methods of giving chemotherapy drugs include :
1. Intravenously (IV)
3. Intramuscular (IM)
4. Intraperitoneal (IP)
5. Intracavitary (IC)
6. Subcutaneous (sub.q.)
7. Oral (PO)…
How Chemotherapy Works ?
Chemotherapy kills rapidly dividing cells. Cancer cells often multiply more rapidly than normal cells. Cancer cell are also less able to recover from the toxic effects of chemotherapy than can normal cells. Normal cells that divide rapidly, such as hair or blood cells, are also killed by chemotherapy. This results in common side effects such as hair falling out and blood counts dropping.