Chemotherapy: Understanding the Basics

Topics: Cancer, Oncology, Chemotherapy Pages: 2 (468 words) Published: September 23, 2014

Chemotherapy is medication that kills cancer cells that multiply quickly. It works by upsetting cell division and killing them throughout the whole body. A pediatric oncologist is someone who studies and treats cancer in kids. If you were diagnosed with cancer by an oncologist, usual treatment would be chemo or radiation therapy, where radioactive waves are used to destroy cancerous cells of tumors.

There are many ways to give chemotherapy; as an IV where medication is put into the body using veins (usually in your arm), or as a catheter, or an IV that stays in a blood vessel in your chest, so a normal IV doesn’t have to stay stuck in your arm. More ways that chemo can be given are pills, capsules, or liquids, shots into the muscle and skin, or as an injection into an area below the spinal cord.

Places to give chemotherapy are hospitals, cancer centers, doctor’s offices, and at home. Many patients receive chemo in hospitals and clinics, while others may need to stay in a hospital so doctors can look over them. Chemo may be given at different times such as every day, every week, or every month. Between treatments the patient needs time to rest.

Undergoing chemo might have uncomfortable side effects caused by the medications, the amount taken, and the general health of the patient. Most side effects don’t last long because the healthy cells multiply and side effects eventually go away. Cancer patients get lots of TLC (tender, love, and care), like lots of food and water, physical therapy, medicines, etc. This type of care helps patients get through treatments and avoid side effects such as nausea and vomiting. This most common effect of chemo is fatigue. Tiredness can last for days, weeks, or months, but it eventually goes away once the treatment is over. Rest can assist the body to recover from chemo.

Short-term side effects caused by chemo are stomach problems like not being hungry, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and...
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