To most of the people, the word chemotherapy means drugs used for cancer treatment. However, chemotherapy is the use of any drug to treat any disease. The word chemotherapy is more popularly also referred to as ‘chemo’. chemo can work throughout the whole body unlike other therapies like Surgery and radiation therapy which only remove, kill, or damage cancer cells in a certain area. Chemo helps to kill cancer cells that have spread (metastasized) to parts of the body far away from the original
Chemotherapy helps in eliminating cancer cells that are spread to the parts in the patient’s body even if they are far away from the place of the original tumor. If you are advised for chemotherapy for treating your cancer by your doctor it is important to understand the goals of treatment when you are making treatment decisions. You need to understand the three main goals for chemotherapy (chemo) in cancer treatment:
Chemotherapy is only recommended after the patient undergoes few tests through which the surgeon assess the growth of a tumor and decide if chemotherapy is required or not. Then the doctor will decide what drug or combination of drugs you will get and choose the doses, how the drugs will be given, and how often and how long you’ll get treatment. All these decisions depend on the type of cancer, where it is, how big it is, and how it affects your normal body functions and overall health.
There are two types of chemotherapy, namely, the normal chemotherapy and adjuvant chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is used as the primary treatment in responsive systemic tumors such as lymphoma or for palliation of clinical signs which are not curable by surgery or radiation. Adjuvant chemotherapy is used in the post-operation stage where is almost no cancer left but there is a risk of recurrence of the same.
Chemotherapy is recommended in some specific cancers that include blood as well as bone marrow cancer, for example, leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. For another kind of cancer, specifically breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer or such form of cancer which arises from an organ, chemotherapy is usually administered in addition to surgery and/or radiation.
Cancer treatments are usually high in cost. This is largely because of the chemo sessions that are given to the patient. Chemotherapy is not a onetime medication or procedure. It is a treatment that is given in numerous sittings and the cost is based on each sitting. Moreover, along with each sitting of the therapy, the patient is also given radiation. Hence, on an average chemotherapy cost can go as high as anything between 20 lakhs to 22 lakhs.
Patients must always seek a second opinion due to such high cost of chemotherapy which hospitals charges. They need to know if chemotherapy is actually needed or whether their ailment can be treated by any other less expensive procedure. Almost 52% of the population who have been detected with cancer in their initial stages seemed to have survived as the research show. However, this percentage reduces once the patient’s condition becomes more severe.
During the chemotherapy, the patient is given drugs as an infusion into a vein (intravenously). The drugs are given in different ways, depending on the treatment for which the procedure is performed. However, very often chemotherapy is given by inserting a tube with a needle into a vein in your arm or into a device in a vein in your chest.
POST PROCEDURE CARE
There are some tests which the doctor will conduct just to assess and understand if the chemotherapy is working well or not. These tests include X-Rays, CT scan, physical exams, the blood tests (to check if the liver and kidney is in proper condition as there are chances of these getting damaged due to chemotherapy), MRI or (PET) scans. Besides this, your doctor may also give you some injections that will help in boosting the production of red and white blood cells.
Chemotherapy may also involve certain side effects. Some of the common side effects that are seen include rashes, fatigue, hair loss, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sores in the mouth etc.
If you decide to go for chemotherapy, it is always a good idea to first enquire the rates of chemotherapy in different hospitals based on which you will be able to decide for yourself the hospital which satisfies your requirements. Looking at the cost of chemotherapy, It is important to seek another option which can be taken in that possible situation. It is also important to see the quality of doctors who will be involved in the process. In order to help you with this, Universal Health Help provides you with an online portal through which you can get all your doubts, queries, clarifications sorted from medical experts themselves