Together with surgery and radiotherapy, chemotherapy is one of the 3 main ways in which cancer is treated. Often known simply as ‘chemo’, they are medicines used to destroy or stop the growth of cancer cells.
There are various ways in which chemotherapy can be given.
Purpose of chemotherapy:
Timing of chemotherapy:
Your doctor may recommend the strategic use of chemotherapy treatment to kill cancer cells or a combination of one or more other treatments, depending on how far the cancer has spread.
The goal of chemotherapy is to cure your cancer and prolong your life span. If a cure is not possible, chemotherapy may help to shrink the cancer or slow its growth. This is to allow you to live symptom-free for as long as possible.
An ideal treatment option will be selected based on the type of cancer, its location, stage of the cancer and other patient factors.
Chemotherapy is often maligned due to its range of possible side effects, which may affect a patient’s quality of life. Nowadays, the newer chemotherapy agents, as well as supportive medicines used, are very effective in reducing side effects for the patient.
Common side effects of chemotherapy include:
With advances in cancer treatment, newer chemotherapies are more effective and offer improved overall results with fewer side effects.