The purpose of Chemotherapy is to cure, control or palliation of cancer. Unlike Surgery, Chemotherapy is based on oral medication. Cancer treatments such as Surgery focus on removing the tumor or potential cancerous tissues, while the drugs given in chemotherapy work through the whole body. As already said, Chemotherapy can completely cure the cancer once for all but in cases where cancer is not curable, it can help in shrinking the cancer. Similarly, the palliative chemotherapy has been proved to be effective in the last stages of cancer when curing or controlling it isn’t possible. Palliative chemotherapy helps in easing out the effects of cancer such as pain or pressure caused on various organs to improve the patient’s quality of life.
Chemotherapy uses various combinations of drugs for cancer treatments. Oncologists suggest your drugs on the basis of type and stage of cancer, patient’s age, other chronic diseases, previous cancer treatments, overall health etc. While chemo can help in getting rid of cancer entirely, some of the oncologists suggest using chemo along with other cancer treatments such as Surgery or radiation therapy.
- Neoadjuvant Therapy – When, before the primary surgery or radiation therapy, chemotherapy is used to shrink tumor
- Adjuvant Therapy – When the cancerous cells can’t be completely treated with surgery or radiation therapy, chemotherapy is used to kill the remaining cancer cells.
As the chemotherapy uses drugs which affect the whole body to diminish or kill the growth of cancer cells, at the same time it can also affect the other healthy growing cells too and diminish their growth. This process causes various side-effects to a patient’s body. Most commonly affected organs by chemotherapy are mouth, heart, kidneys, lungs, bone marrow, bladder, reproductive organs, digestion system and nervous system etc. The best oncologists always suggest drugs in a manner that such side effects can be minimized. Patients undergoing chemotherapy may experience fatigue, sore throat or pain, weight loss, hair loss, nausea, anaemia, poor concentration, fertility problems etc.