Fighting Cancer with Chemotherapy
One of the most common types of cancer treatment is known as chemotherapy, or “chemo.” Chemotherapy refers to a set of powerful drugs that attack and kill cancer cells. While every Regional Cancer Care Associates patient’s treatment plan is different, many of them can expect to receive chemo at some point in their cancer journey.
There’s no doubt you’ve heard a lot about chemotherapy, but you probably still have a number of questions. Fortunately, the experts at RCCA can break down some of the complexities of this treatment to provide peace of mind.
What does chemotherapy do?
Chemotherapy has several different uses. It can…
- Stop cancer from spreading
- Kill cancer cells that have already spread
- Slow down the cancer’s growth
- Relieve pain and other side effects
- Shrink tumors to prepare for surgery or radiation
- Kill any leftover cancer cells after surgery or radiation
- Fight cancer if it comes back
Most of the time, patients don’t just receive chemotherapy. While chemotherapy can be very effective by itself, it’s even more effective when combined with surgery, radiation, immunotherapy and other treatments. In addition, some patients receive more than one type of chemotherapy drug to create a more powerful effect.
How does chemotherapy work?
Just like antibiotics help kill bacteria in your body, chemotherapy helps kill fast-growing cancer cells. That’s why it’s an effective way to slow down tumors, make them smaller and even get rid of them altogether. However, chemotherapy kills normal fast-growing cells, too. As a result, some people lose their hair as a side effect of chemotherapy. Other side effects may include fatigue, nausea and mouth sores, among others. But it’s important to know that everyone’s body reacts differently to the treatment.
What can I expect during treatment?
Chemotherapy is administered on a schedule with breaks between each dose. Sometimes the drugs are given daily, every week or every month. The breaks give your body a chance to adjust and recover from the side effects. The length of time it takes to complete chemotherapy varies depending on the type of cancer and how it responds to the drugs.
How do I get chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy comes in many different forms. For most patients, the drugs are received via an IV tube. Others may receive injections to the spine, chest or stomach, and some are able to take chemotherapy drugs via pills, liquids and topical formulas.
After receiving a treatment, some patients are able to leave the clinic and continue daily activities. Some even choose to continue working. But fighting cancer can take a toll on your body and cause some serious side effects, which is why some patients feel more comfortable at home or in the hospital.
Will chemotherapy work for me?
Every year, more than 650,000 cancer patients receive chemotherapy from an outpatient clinic. There’s no guarantee for success, but it does help you fight back. Your team of doctors and nurses will work diligently to make sure you’re getting the best treatment plan possible. They’ll also check on your progress throughout the course of your treatment and make adjustments as needed along the way.
Get the cancer care you deserve
Put your healthcare in the hands of RCCA. Our oncologists use years of experience and cutting-edge technology to bring you the most advanced treatment available. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact RCCA today at 844-346-7222.