Chemotherapy is one of the main therapies of cancer. This therapy uses a number of drugs to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing and spreading to other parts of the body.
There are several types of drugs used in chemotherapy, and each will destroy or shrink cancer cells in different ways. The medicine can be in the form of injections or pills.
To help the body regain strength and grow new and healthy cells, we are required to take drugs for several weeks. The dosage must be consumed daily, weekly or monthly. This depends on the type of cancer and its degree.
Sometimes doctors recommend chemotherapy along with radiotherapy and surgery. After surgery to get rid of tumors, it is likely that there are still cancer cells that live in our body. These cells can grow into new tumors or spread to other parts of the body so they need to be cleaned with chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy drugs also aim to damage, shrink or control these cells. The drug also treats symptoms caused by cancer, such as pain. There are times when we need chemotherapy before surgery so that the tumor shrinks and is easily removed.
Chemotherapy drugs work in several ways, including killing healthy cells and cancer cells, only killing cancer cells, attacking the cancer cell genes so that the cells die and cannot grow into new tumors. The latest generation of drugs can even use the body’s immune system to find and destroy cancer cells.
The newest type of cancer drug called target therapy only against cancer cells. This drug has fewer side effects than conventional chemotherapy. However, this drug can only treat certain types of cancer.
After a series of chemotherapy doctors will know the body’s response to the treatment. Through blood tests or body scans it can be known whether tumor cells have been reduced or not. If chemotherapy is not working the doctor may give another dose or combine it with other therapies.