Chemotherapy is the treatment using anticancer drugs to destroy cancer cells or control the growth of these cells. It can be used alone or in combination with surgery and radiotherapy.
The aim of chemotherapy in the treatment of cancer varies according to the type and prevalence of the disease. The aims of chemotherapy are:
- Treating the disease
- Preventing the proliferation of cancer cells and slowing the spread
- To improve the quality of life of the person by eliminating the symptoms and symptoms related to the disease
- Reduce disease recurrence when applied after surgery or radiotherapy
- To facilitate local treatments by pre-surgery or radiotherapy
How Does Chemotherapy Drugs Work?
The process of development and death of normal and healthy cells in the body walks in an order and control. However, the growth and death of cancer cells have emerged from this control process and these cells grow and multiply uncontrollably. Almost all of the chemotherapy drugs are delivered to the body through the bloodstream to reach uncontrolled cells and kill these cells or prevent uncontrolled growth. Chemotherapy drugs on the one hand destroy these bad cells on the other hand on the body also affects the normal cells. This is manifested by some side effects associated with chemotherapy in the body. However, the undesirable effects of existing drugs on normal cells are temporary.
How and Where is Chemotherapy Given?
The way in which the chemotherapy drugs are administered can be in different ways. Four different ways of treatment are currently in use:
Oral (oral). The drugs can be taken orally in the form of pills, capsules or solutions.
Intravenous. Chemotherapy drugs are the most common method. Drugs are applied by adding to the serum or by intravenous injection. In general, the veins on the arm and hand are used for this procedure. Different instruments such as ports, catheters and pumps can sometimes be used in intravenous treatment applications.
Through injection. Drugs can sometimes be administered intramuscularly or subcutaneously (by direct injection). Another method of injection is the administration of the drug directly into the tumor tissue (intralesional).
On top of the skin (topical). Application of the drug directly on the skin from the outside.
Chemotherapy drugs can be administered at home, in a hospital setting or in private centers. Where the treatment is to be administered; The general condition of the patient is decided according to the preferences of the patient and the doctor. The application in hospital can be done in the inpatient or outpatient chemotherapy units.
How does chemotherapy affect daily life and what does the patient feel?
Although there are various unpleasant side effects associated with the treatment in chemotherapy patients, many patients continue their lives without serious limitations in their daily life. In general, the severity of these side effects varies according to the type and intensity of the drugs. The general condition of the patient, the prevalence of the disease and the symptoms caused by the disease may also affect this process. Many patients can continue their working life while receiving chemotherapy, but sometimes there are many post-treatment fatigue and similar symptoms. Even though there are some complaints related to treatment, these patients do not need to isolate themselves from society and make serious changes in their daily lives.
Does the patient feel pain when taking chemotherapy?
The patient does not feel pain when giving chemotherapy. Sometimes, however, the chemotherapy drug may leak out of the vein through the area where the needle is inserted. This may cause pain, redness, burning and swelling in the area where the drug is inserted. In such a case, the nurse should be stopped and chemotherapy should be stopped until the nurse is informed immediately.
What Are the Possible Side Effects of Chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy, while trying to destroy cancer cells in the body on the one hand on the other hand affects the normal cells cause side effects. The possible side effects and the severity of these side effects depend on the medications and personal sensitivities. Normal cells that are most affected by chemotherapy drugs are the most rapidly proliferating cells in the body. These cells, which have the ability to proliferate rapidly, have hair in the head, blood cells that show development in the bone marrow and the cells in the digestive system. For this reason, the most undesirable effects of drugs are seen on these systems. Nevertheless, these cells proliferate in a short period of time due to the rapid growth and regeneration feature, thus eliminating the negative effects of chemotherapy.