Strictly speaking, “chemotherapy” means medical treatment of any disease. Usually, however, this term is used in relation to the treatment of malignant diseases. There are many anticancer drugs, and every day more and more experts are developing. The advantage of chemotherapy over other methods of treatment of malignant neoplasms is a systemic action (surgical or radiotherapy have a local impact on the main seat of the disease). Thus, with the help of cancer chemotherapy is possible to control the pockets of small size, invisible to the eye, is not revealed by various diagnostic procedures, and not amenable to other treatments. In addition, due to cytotoxic therapy doctors have learned to successfully treat systemic tumors such as leukemia and other blood diseases.
The mechanism of action
The basis of most chemotherapeutic drugs is their ability to stop the most important biological processes in tumor cells. They act on cells in various stages of the cell cycle, stopping the process of division and growth. Often, to maximize the effectiveness of treatment program consists of a combination of chemotherapeutic agents with different mechanisms of action. Sometimes also used a combination of different methods of treatment: chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgical techniques.
Methods for introducing
In most cases, medication is administered intravenously (bolus or infusion), rarely used orally (by mouth), subcutaneous, intramuscular, or intrathecal (into the cerebrospinal fluid), route of administration. For long-term intravenous administration of an intravenous catheter set, which can deliver drugs directly into the bloodstream without repeated puncturing a vein.
Complications of chemotherapy
Please understand that chemotherapy is just a chemical – it is not able to distinguish patients (tumor) cells from healthy and tries to destroy all actively dividing cells. Particularly vulnerable organs and tissues, where cells divide rapidly: the hair follicles of the skin, bone marrow, gastro-intestinal tract. It now becomes clear, as there are well-known side effects of cancer chemotherapy such as hair loss, changes in cellular composition of blood (and is connected with this tendency to frequent infections and bleeding), mucous membranes of the mouth and vagina, bowel problems and other common complication chemotherapy is nausea and vomiting.
The severity of side effects depends on the specific drugs, mode of administration and individual response of the organism. At this point in the arsenal of doctors there are sufficient means of dealing with complications of chemotherapy: a strong anti-emetics, broad-spectrum antibiotics, high-quality products for blood transfusion, etc. Prior to treatment your doctor will tell you about the possible complications and difficulties. Be sure to ask them what you will need to diet restrictions are necessary in the way of life, what help can you give relatives. These complications of chemotherapy may seem quite dangerous and unpleasant. However, they are only temporary: the hair will grow back, weakness and nausea will pass, blood counts normalized. Whatever may have caused anxiety chemotherapy, no matter how hard to go through these tests, always think about the result, their loved ones who are waiting for your home healthy and loves you. Delay or failure of therapy of the disease threatens the transition to a more serious stage and the development of metastases. Malignant tumors are unusually cruel enemy. And to deal with them we have to use the most powerful tools.