What is the danger of chemothe

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Chemotherapy (also known as chemo-treatment) isa type of treatment of cancer in which drugs are used to destroycancerous cells or to retard their growth. Many types of cancer areeffectively treated with chemotherapy. Like other treatments, italso causes side effects which may vary person to person. Theseside effects are dependent on the type and location of cancer,drugs and their dosage and individual’s health.

Chemotherapy is not only responsible for killing fast growingcancer cells, but also slows or destroys the growth of healthy bodycells that divide and function normally. The body cells which areaffected are cells which cause growth of hairs and cells lining theintestines and mouth. Side effects include hair loss, nausea andmouth sores. However, these side effects gradually go away as thesession of chemotherapy is finished.

Common side effects include pain, fatigue, diarrhea,constipation, etc. Some serious side effects include blooddisorders, damage to nervous system, memory loss and sexualsterility in both males and females. Chemotherapy affects theprocess of formation of new blood cells as it damages the bonemarrow tissue. it induces anaemia, leukopenia, dizziness, etc. but,once chemotherapy is over, the blood cell count is regained.

Some chemotherapeutic drugs cause neural damage which results intingling sensation, burning, loss of balance, etc. Cognitivechanges or dysfunction is also seen in patients who receivedchemotherapy as they are not able to think or concentrate clearly.After completion of the chemotherapy, the follow up care is ofutmost importance to deal with later effects of chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy can be called as a systemicapproach of treatment because the “chemo-drugs” movesthroughout the body and target the cancerous cells that havemetastasized from the primary tumour to other parts of the body.Due to this metastasis, other treatments like radiation and surgeryare not recommended and this makes cancer difficult to treat. Apart of tumour is removed surgically from the detected part andradiation treatment is used to treat specific areas of body todestroy cancerous cells. Such treatments are calledlocal treatments.

Chemotherapy is used differently on patients at different times.This can be understood by the following points:

1. “Neo-adjuvant chemotherapy” is used to reduce the size oftumors before the radiation or surgery treatment.

2. This is followed by “adjuvant chemotherapy” after postsurgical treatment or post radiation treatment in which any leftcancerous cells are destroyed.

3. In cases of blood cancers such as leukemia or cancers oflymphatic system such as lymphoma, chemotherapy is the onlypossible treatment.

4. Chemotherapy is also used for metastatic cancer (cancer whichspreads to remaining parts of the body other than part of origin)and recurrent cancer (cancer which comes back after cancertreatment).

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