Chemotherapy manages cancer cells

Center : Nakornthon Horizon Cancer Center

Article by : Dr. Komkrit Mahaprom

Chemotherapy manages cancer cells

There are many ways to treat cancer today. It varies depending on the type and the severity of the disease by chemotherapy, it is currently the most used treatment for cancer. The doctor may use chemo as the only primary treatment or may be given as an adjunct to other treatments. The goal is to increase the chances of a cure higher than topical treatment alone.

How does chemotherapy work?

Chemotherapy, is a drug that works against or destroys cancer cells. The main goal is to destroy cancer cells that are rapidly and continuously grow and multiply. The drug acts to inhibit the multiplication of cancer cells in many ways, causing the cells to be unable to continue dividing and ultimately die.

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Cancer chemotherapy targets

Doctors may use chemotherapy for different purposes. Whether it's treatment, control, or support. In some patients, the doctor may consider using only one drug. But it is often given as a combination of two drugs or in combination with other treatments, such as adjuvant chemotherapy before and after surgery. Dosing drugs with radiation, etc. The type and amount of drug the patient receives depends on the type of cancer cells. Stage or severity of the disease and the spread of cancer cells to other organs in the body with the goal of increasing the efficiency of treatment to be higher than topical treatment alone.

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Forms of chemotherapy

Chemotherapy or chemo can be administered in several ways, including:

  • Oral chemotherapy- more convenient and reducing hospital stays for chemotherapy.
  • Intravenous chemotherapy- by incorporating together with IV fluids into the veins.

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Duration of chemotherapy treatment

The duration of treatment depends on the type and stage of cancer, and drug response. Usually given as a set, takes 1-5 days per set, each set 2-4 weeks apart, which patients may receive an average of 6-8 sets, depending on the doctor's treatment plan. The patient should receive chemotherapy as scheduled for good treatment results.

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Preparation before chemotherapy treatment

  1. The doctor will assess the readiness of the patient and blood tests to assess the completeness of the blood cells, liver and kidney function. Because the drug affects the function of the bone marrow, which can cause thrombocytopenia and some chemotherapy drugs require dosage adjustments based on liver and kidney function.
  2. If you have congenital disease such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or diseases that require regular medication you must inform the doctor.
  3. Eat food from all 5 food groups, focusing on foods that are high in protein such as meat, egg whites, milk, etc.
  4. Get enough rest and increase your daytime sleep for at least 1-2 hours per day.
  5. Avoid drinking alcohol, smoking and taking herbal supplements.

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Self-care during chemotherapy

  • Observe the skin at the injection site if there is pain, swelling, redness, or suspect that the medicine has leaked out of the vein, inform the nurse immediately.
  • Drink plenty of water to help flush out chemicals that may remain in your body through your urine.
  • If you have nausea or vomiting, inform the nurse immediately.

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Returning home after chemotherapy treatment

  • Continue to follow your doctor's advice for about a month to reduce potential complications.
  • In case of abnormal symptoms such as high fever, nausea, vomiting, severe diarrhea, spots of blood on the skin or bleeding from various organs. Do not wait for your next appointment and see the Dr immediately.
  • In case there are no abnormal symptoms, you should come regularly on the appointed day.

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How many side effects does chemotherapy (chemo) have?

Because chemotherapy can affect normal, rapidly dividing body cells, it can cause side effects. The side effects in each patient may vary. It depends on the type of chemotherapy regimen. The amount of drug received and the condition of the patient before receiving the drug, such as hair loss, oral mucositis, anorexia, diarrhea, fatigue, anemia, and lower blood cells than normal, etc., but such side effects are temporary. When the drug wears off, the symptoms will gradually improve and return to normal. If such symptoms continue to become more severe, seek immediate medical attention.

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However, with the progress in current cancer treatment with chemotherapy, there are new groups of drugs that is more effective in treatment and have fewer side effects than the original drug. There are also drugs that can help prevent and reduce side effects. Makes the use of drugs more effective in treating and have fewer side effects.

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