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What to Know About Chemotherapy Treatment by Alyssa Arceri

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There are many types of cancer a person may get throughout their lifetime: lung cancer, breast cancer, ovary cancer, and etc. One thing most cancers have in common is a treatment that is offered to fight their cancer, Chemotherapy (chemo).

Chemo is used to slow down cancers growth throughout a person’s body. There are many different kinds of drugs that are used during chemo to kill cancer cells and keep cancer from spreading throughout the body. Eventually with enough treatment chemo can cure cancer from a person. Chemo may be used to shrink tumors before a person goes through a surgery. Other times chemo will be used as a treatment after surgery to help kill any cancer cells that are left after a surgery.

There are a few different ways a person may receive chemo. The most popular way is with a needle (IV chemo). The drugs used for your chemo is pumped straight in to a person’s veins. Along with IV chemo a person may receive chemo a number of other ways: pill, or liquid form (must be very careful and take the exact amount prescribed by your doctor), a shot in the spine, chest, or abdomen, or lastly a person may rub it on their skin. Depending on the type of cancer a person has and how their body is reacting to the drugs being used can determine how often a person receives chemo. A person may receive chemo daily, weekly, or monthly. It is important that the person who is receiving chemo has breaks throughout their treatment to allow their body to rebuild itself. With so many cancer cells being destroyed the body will now be able to recreate healthy new cells.

The drugs used during chemotherapy are extremely strong, not only do they kill cancer cells but sometimes they may kill non cancer cells or damaged the new healthy cells as they are being created. Some people who receive chemotherapy will experience little to no side effects where as other people are not as lucky. Chemotherapy is literally breaking your body down getting rid of all cancer cells and even some healthy cells because of this people often experience nausea and vomiting. A person may ask for a prescription drug from their doctor to help ease the nausea and vomiting. A common side effect of chemotherapy is hair lost. A person may lose their hair in a matter of a day or over a slow time. Some people might not lose all their hair just a little causing one’s hair to thin out.

Almost all the time if a person loses their hair it will grow back it however will most likely not be the same texture and color. A person loses their hair and wants to purchase a wig they can check their health plan because most health plans cover a part of the wig, a person may also deduct the cost from their income taxes. A person may experience some bone marrow changes which include lost in: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. A way for a person to make sure they are not losing too much bone marrow is by staying away from sick people and washing your hands regularly. Fortunately the effect of bone marrow does not last long and doctors take blood test to make sure the patient’s body is making new blood cells. A person may experience soars in the mouth and throat while going through chemotherapy. A person may lose their sexual desire while undergoing chemo but it comes back when the treatment ends; however some chemo drugs can cause a person to not be able to have children and the affects unfortunately do not go away after treatment. Some people who go through chemo are called “chemo brain” or “chemo fog” meaning it is harder for the person to think or concentrate. Not all people have a hard time with their memory, only a few. Finally chemotherapy may effect a person’s emotions.

There are a multiple things a person may do throughout chemotherapy to make the treatment better for them. The patient needs to make sure they are getting a lot of rest, should eat healthier, getting fresh air, and making sure a person has good support group to help them throughout their rough time. A person needs to stay strong and think positive that they will get better.




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