Chemotherapy commomnly known as ‘chemo' is a definitive step towards cancer cure. Chemotherapy can be giveneither with a ‘curative' intent or to alleviate the symptoms, ie ‘Palliative intent'. In both cases, it is used in conjunction with the other treatments, ie surgery and radiation.
Mode of action:-
In chemotherapy, chemotherapeutic drugs are administered in the body in the form of single drug or in a combination of drugs. These drugs target the rapidly dividing abnormal cancer cells, thereby retarding or stop the rapid growth of abnormal cells.
Depending on the patient's general condition & type of cancer, chemotherapy is either given intravenously or it can be given orally, However as these are cytotoxic drugs, their toxicity can lead to various side effects , so to combat this the regimen isstrategised as follows:-
·Single Drug Therapy:-
This is a traditional method by using a single drug, but its use is now limited, due to its high dose toxicity.
·Combination Drug Therapy:- Combination of drugs can be used to minimize the dose , thereby reducing the toxicity of the drug. Apart from this patient don't form a resistance against these drugs.
·Neo- Adjuvant Therapy:- It is given prior to the surgery so as to shrink the primary tumour.
·Adjuvant Therapy:- is given after a local treatment, ie either radiotherapy or surgery.
·Maintenance Chemotherapy:- is a repeated low dose treatment to prolong remission.
The major concern of this treatment are its adverse effects, as this therapy targets the rapidly dividing abnormal cancer cells, Unintentionally it also targets normal cells also, leading to
Chemotherapy drugs cause depression of the immune system by paralyzing the bone marrow and leading to a decrease of blood cells. In severe regimens, bone marrow is completely destroyed, thereby indicating the need of BMT.
·Relapse of neoplasms
·Neurological Adverse Effects
·Tumour Lysis syndrome
These side effects can be acute or chronic depends upon the toxicity of the drugs and its term of use, ie long term or short term use of these drugs.
Chemotherapy, despite its cons, is the preferred line of treatment where conventional surgery fails, to cure the patient.
‘Cure urself….from cancer..by making the right choice in right time'