Chemotherapy, Here's What You Should Know

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Chemotherapy, Here's What You Should Know
Chemotherapy, Here's What You Should Know

Chemotherapy is a treatment procedure using very strong chemicals to stop or inhibit the growth of cancer cells in the body. In addition to cancer, chemotherapy is also used to treat bone marrow diseases and disorders of the immune system, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis

Chemotherapy can be combined with treatment methods, such as hormone therapy, surgery, and radiotherapy. The implementation of this procedure can be done at home by taking oral chemotherapy drugs or through an infusion that is carried out in a hospital under the supervision of a doctor.This choice is determined based on the type of cancer, its stage, and the patient's he alth condition.

Chemotherapy, Here's What You Should Know - Alodokter

The time for chemotherapy can usually last for several months which is divided into several sessions. This procedure is a systemic treatment that affects the whole body, so it can cause various side effects that are felt by the patient after therapy.

Indications of Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the main cancer treatment method recommended by doctors because it aims to:

  • Inhibiting the spread of cancer.
  • Cure cancer as a whole. Chemotherapy is also used after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells in the body.
  • Increase the success of other treatment methods, preoperative or chemotherapy combined with radiotherapy.
  • Relieve the symptoms suffered.

Chemotherapy Fee

Chemotherapy costs vary widely, depending on the type and stage of cancer experienced, the drugs used, and the number of cycles of therapy needed. The cost that also needs to be prepared is the cost of treatment due to chemotherapy side effects, such as infections and other conditions that require hospitalization, or further chemotherapy beyond the initial plan because the cancer has not gone away or has grown back. Clearly ask the hospital or clinic where you will be undergoing chemotherapy about the estimated cost, so that you can prepare for it.

Chemotherapy Alert

Chemotherapy is a treatment for serious conditions. Therefore, careful planning is needed from the patient and the implementing team of doctors. The planning involves considering the type of chemotherapy that will be carried out, the side effects that will appear, and the success rate of chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy planning can be done after the patient undergoes a series of tests (such as blood tests, scans, or X-rays) to determine whether the patient's he alth condition is strong enough to undergo chemotherapy or not. Dental infection checks are also needed because dental infections are at risk of spreading due to the effects of chemotherapy on the body.

After knowing the patient's condition, the team of doctors can determine the type and duration of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is usually given in cycles, which consist of a period of chemotherapy plus a rest period. For example, chemotherapy for 1 week then followed by a rest period of 3 weeks. The implementation of chemotherapy generally takes several months consisting of several cycles.

One thing to remember is that chemotherapy is not recommended for pregnant women because it can cause defects in the baby or fetus. For those who will undergo chemotherapy, it is expected to use contraception during chemotherapy so that pregnancy does not occur.The same warning is also given to patients taking other medicines, including herbal medicines. The reaction of these drugs to chemotherapy drugs is unpredictable. Drugs that are usually given in chemotherapy include drugs that can block cell division (alkylating agents), drugs that can inhibit the formation of RNA and DNA (antimetabolites), and antitumor antibiotics that alter DNA in cancer cells.

Before Chemotherapy

Preparations before chemotherapy are carried out to anticipate the post-therapy effects. Some people feel weak and tired after chemotherapy, therefore, it is better to ask for help from other people to accompany and accompany the chemotherapy. In addition, patients need adequate rest time after chemotherapy. Therefore, assistance is needed in doing household chores or taking care of children, for at least one day after chemotherapy.

Although many chemotherapy patients can continue to work during this procedure, it is best if the working hours are adjusted to their physical condition.Arrangement of working hours in accordance with a lighter workload needs to be done in order to anticipate the effects of post-chemotherapy. Talk and plan things with the doctor, family. or a friend who can provide support during the therapy process.

Chemotherapy Procedure

In general, chemotherapy in hospitals is given intravenously, namely through an infusion, although sometimes chemotherapy can also be given orally in tablet form.

In the procedure of intravenous chemotherapy, the drug is delivered from a bag of liquid medicine that is connected with a tube into one of the veins. The fluid distribution of the drug can be done through a PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) tube that is inserted into the patient's arm vein for several weeks or months. The hose is connected to a pump to regulate the amount of drug and the speed of drug delivery.

Similar to the performance of the PICC tube, chemotherapy drug delivery can also be done with a tube that is inserted into the chest and connected to one of the veins near the heart (central line).In addition, drug delivery can also be done through a cannula tube that is temporarily placed in a vein on the back of the hand or forearm. It can also be through an implanted port, which is a small device that is implanted under the skin during the therapy period. To distribute the medicinal liquid, a needle is used which is inserted into the device by penetrating the skin.

In addition to intravenous, chemotherapy can be administered through the arteries around the cancer site (intra-arterial). As for cancer in organs such as the intestine, stomach, liver, ovaries, chemotherapy is given to the abdominal cavity (intraperitoneal chemotherapy).

Chemotherapy can also be administered through injection of drugs, although this is rarely done. Some of them are through injections under the skin (subcutaneous chemotherapy), injections into the muscle (intramuscular chemotherapy), or injections directly into the spine (intrathecal chemotherapy).As for skin cancer cases, chemotherapy is generally given in the form of a cream.

After Chemotherapy

After the chemotherapy, the patient's physical condition will always be monitored by a team of doctors to determine the level of success. Monitoring or monitoring can be in the form of regular blood tests and body scans. In addition, the doctor will also monitor how the side effects caused after the chemotherapy procedure. Thus, the team of doctors can make adjustments to the implementation of chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy Side Effects

Chemotherapy can have unpleasant effects on the body. In addition to killing cancer cells, chemotherapy can also damage other cells in the body, such as hair cells, skin, and the lining of the digestive tract. However, not all patients will experience the side effects of chemotherapy. Some of the side effects that are usually experienced after the procedure are:

  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Body feels tired or weak.
  • Hair loss.
  • Infection.
  • Anemia.
  • Appetite is reduced.
  • Changes to skin and nails.
  • Fever.
  • Thrush or sores in the mouth.
  • Constipation.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Disorders of concentration and memory.

There are also a number of side effects that are usually only felt after a few months or years after undergoing chemotherapy. These side effects include the risk of secondary cancer, heart problems, lung tissue damage, kidney disorders, and peripheral nerve disorders (peripheral neuropathy).

Many side effects after chemotherapy can be prevented and treated. Most of these side effects go away once chemotherapy is stopped. However, immediate medical care is required if chemotherapy patients experience the following conditions:

  • Chest pain.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Bleeding gums and nose.
  • Thrush which causes the patient to be unable to eat or drink.
  • Diarrhea more than four times a day.
  • Vomiting constantly.
  • Bleeding from body parts that doesn't stop after 10 minutes of trying to stop.
  • Shiver.
  • Difficulty breathing.

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