What exactly is chemotherapy?

What is chemotherapy and how is it done?

Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that uses powerful chemicals to kill fast-growing cells in your body. Chemotherapy is most often used to treat cancer, since cancer cells grow and multiply much more quickly than most cells in the body. Many different chemotherapy drugs are available.

Is chemotherapy painful?

Does chemotherapy hurt? IV chemotherapy should not cause any pain while being administered. If you experience pain, contact the nurse taking care of you to check your IV line. An exception would be if there is a leak and the drug gets into surrounding tissues.

What is chemotherapy made of?

There are several types of alkylating agents used in chemotherapy treatments: Mustard gas derivatives: Mechlorethamine, Cyclophosphamide, Chlorambucil, Melphalan, and Ifosfamide. Ethylenimines: Thiotepa and Hexamethylmelamine.

How does chemo kill cancer?

Chemo is considered a systemic treatment because the drugs travels throughout the body, and can kill cancer cells that have spread (metastasized) to parts of the body far away from the original (primary) tumor. This makes it different from treatments like surgery and radiation.

How soon do you lose your hair with chemo?

Hair usually begins falling out two to four weeks after you start treatment. It could fall out very quickly in clumps or gradually. You’ll likely notice accumulations of loose hair on your pillow, in your hairbrush or comb, or in your sink or shower drain. Your scalp may feel tender.

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How much does a round of chemo cost?

Depending on the drug and type of cancer it treats, the average monthly cost of chemo drugs can range from $1,000 to $12,000. If a cancer patient requires four chemo sessions a year, it could cost them up to $48,000 total, which is beyond the average annual income.

How many rounds of chemo is normal?

You may need four to eight cycles to treat your cancer. A series of cycles is called a course. Your course can take 3 to 6 months to complete. And you may need more than one course of chemo to beat the cancer.

Is second chemo worse than first?

Overall, my second round of chemo went much better than the first… thanks to an adjustment Dr. Soule made based on my round one experience (she extended my steroid to be taken for three days after chemo, instead of just one, though with smaller doses on each day).

Does chemotherapy shorten your life?

During the 3 decades, the proportion of survivors treated with chemotherapy alone increased (from 18% in 1970-1979 to 54% in 1990-1999), and the life expectancy gap in this chemotherapy-alone group decreased from 11.0 years (95% UI, 9.0-13.1 years) to 6.0 years (95% UI, 4.5-7.6 years).

Why is it called chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy: 1. In the original sense, a chemical that binds to and specifically kills microbes or tumor cells. The term chemotherapy was coined in this regard by Paul Ehrlich (1854-1915).

What are the disadvantages of chemotherapy?

What are common side effects of chemo?

  • Fatigue.
  • Hair loss.
  • Easy bruising and bleeding.
  • Infection.
  • Anemia (low red blood cell counts)
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Appetite changes.
  • Constipation.
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