Chemotherapy is a leading cancer treatment that kills cancer cells. While cancer kills one’s health, its cure that is chemotherapy kills one’s finances. Chemotherapy is not only an expensive process but a continuous one as well. Yet, cancer has to be cured to save one’s life.
Chemotherapy, as a cancer treatment targets the cells. Cells are the body’s basic unit of life. Our body is made up of many cells that divide and grow in a programmed way to yield more cells so the body grows and stays healthy. These cells die naturally and replaced with new ones when they become damaged or old.
Cancer starts in cells when this process goes wrong. When cells do not die when they should and new cells are produced, extra cells which the body does not need become numerous and may form a tissue called tumor.
Chemotherapy means to treat by chemicals to kill cancerous cells. Shortened as “chemo”, it is a systematic therapy, meaning, it affects the entire body by going through the bloodstream.
Chemotherapy uses chemicals that interfere with the division of the cell. This cancer treatment damages the proteins or DNA so that cancer cells will commit suicide. Chemotherapy targets the cells that are rapidly dividing, including the normal cells. However, normal cells can recover from damage while the cancer cells cannot.
Adjuvant, neoadjuvant and chemo regimens
Adjuvant chemotherapy is one given after surgery, when surgery treatment is needed as a cancer primary treatment. This is oftentimes true with breast cancer treatment. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is one given before surgery so that lesser tissues can be removed as this can shrink the cancer cells. In most cases, chemo medicines are given in combination also known as chemo regimens.
As a cancer treatment, chemo cures cancer that has metastasized because the medicines can travel throughout the entire body. This is common treatment for lymphoma and leukemia. It occurs in cycles, giving the body a time to heal itself between doses.
Chemo can also kill good cells that multiply fast. Good cells are those found in the digestive tract, bone marrow and hair follicles. That is why, it causes side effects such as hair loss, decrease blood cells production and inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract. Other side effects are nausea, vomiting and fatigue.