Chemotherapy

What You Need to Know... Before Treatment

No one wants to be told they have cancer. And nothing can prepare you for the roller coaster of emotions that hits you when you are first diagnosed – the shock, confusion, numbness, fear, anger and uncertainty shake you to your core.

Chemotherapy

It’s all so much to take in. No one deserves cancer, but sadly it’s a fact of life. According to the American Cancer Society approx. 1.6 million new cases were reported just last year alone and cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States.

Many Cancers Are Treatable

Fortunately, many cancers are treatable. You may have heard of chemotherapy, do you really understand it? Considering it may be one of your treatment options, it is about time you did. Most people know very little about chemotherapy other than it is a cancer treatment and it causes your hair to fall out. Whereas, this may be partly true – there is a lot more to know.

Types of Cancer Treatments Available

It Takes A Village

Each type of treatment is administered by an Oncology Specialist. For chemotherapy you have a Medical Oncologist, for radiation therapy you have a Radiation Oncologist and for surgery you have a Surgical Oncologist or General Surgeon. More often than not, you will undergo more than one type of cancer treatment and all three oncologists work together to provide you with the best possible care.

What is Chemotherapy?

To put is simply, chemotherapy is the use of drugs to treat cancer.

Most chemotherapy used today include cytotoxic drugs that work by targeting rapidly dividing cells – not specifically cancer cells. Since cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells divide rapidly cytotoxic drugs have proven effective to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells – even shrink cancerous tumors.

Because cytotoxic drugs target rapidly dividing cells indiscriminately they can damage or disrupt the function of normal cell division specifically the cells that divide regularly in your blood/bone marrow, the mucosal cells in your mouth and intestines and your hair follicles. The attack on your hair follicles is what causes the most visible side effect, hair loss.

Chemotherapy is usually administered through an IV drip or portable pump but it can also be taken orally as a pill, as a cream or injection.

No two treatments are exactly the same, because no two cancers are exactly alike. That’s why chemotherapy treatment is different for everyone. Chemotherapy treatment can last anywhere from 6 weeks to 12 months depending on the type and severity of the cancer. Some cancers respond better to chemotherapy than others.

FIND A TOP10MD MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST NEAR YOU

There are hundreds of Oncologists practicing Radiation and Medical Oncology to choose from; however, not all doctors are created equal. Radiation and Medical Oncology takes the skill and finesse of an experienced Oncologist. That’s why we’ve selected your city’s best Oncologists – to make the decision process easier for you and your family.

For your peace of mind, Top10MD Oncologists’ credentials are validated yearly to verify medical licenses have no serious patient care sanctions, current Board Certifications in their given medical specialty, current DEA & DPS licenses, and malpractice insurance. A Top10MD has at least 5+ years experience or has performed 300+ procedures in their given specialty and a current Patient Satisfaction Score of 8.5 or higher.

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Find Your Chemotherapy Specialist

The Goal 

Your Oncology Specialist will determine what is the best chemotherapy treatment for you based on the type and stage of cancer. Chemo can be used in many different ways.

The down side of chemotherapy is the havoc it can wreak on your body. Side effects vary depending on the type of drug used, how long your treatment is and how large the dose.

Common Side Effects

  • Achy Muscles
  • Anemia
  • Appetite Loss
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Hair Loss
  • Headaches
  • Infertility
  • Memory Loss
  • Nausea And Vomiting
  • Nerve Damage
  • Weakened Immune System

Your Oncology Specialist will go over the different risks and possible side effects before treatment. Most symptoms will subside once chemotherapy treatment stops, but it is possible for some to exist after treatment. Your Doctor and their staff will help you understand the risks, before treatment.

 

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