Chemotherapy in Gatlinburg, TN
The goal of chemotherapy is to destroy cancer cells with the use of cytotoxic drugs. It can be effective in eliminating cancer from the body entirely, or controlling the cancer to prevent it from spreading. Chemotherapy is generally recommended in conjunction with another treatment such as surgery or radiotherapy.
Chemotherapy may be performed before a lumpectomy to shrink a tumor before it is removed. This is known as neo-adjuvant chemotherapy.
In cases where the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, and a mastectomy is performed, chemotherapy may be administered after the removal of cancerous tissue to make sure we eliminate any cells left behind. This is known as adjuvant chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy may also be used in addition to other treatments such as radiation therapy to further decrease the likelihood of the cancer returning.
Chemotherapy - The Process
Every patient's body is different and each person may respond to chemotherapy differently. There are a number of cytotoxic drugs used in chemotherapy, and your doctor will determine the combination that will work best for your unique situation.
After a consultation, your doctor may also determine how long the chemotherapy should be performed and how frequently. Regardless of the length of time or number of visits, any treatment plan occurs in a cycle that includes periods of rest in between chemotherapy sessions.
There are a number of ways to administer cytotoxic drugs, but the two most commonly used are intravenously through an IV or orally via a pill, capsule, or liquid.
Once your doctors have determined that chemotherapy is no longer necessary, you will return to a monitoring schedule which includes office visits and regular mammograms to make sure that the cancer does not return.
Things to Know
Chemotherapy is highly effective in destroying cancer cells and preventing their growth, but the down side is that it will damage healthy cells as well. And because it passes through the blood stream, it will travel through the entire body instead of just the areas where cancer was present.
That's why there are a number of side effects associated with chemotherapy. The most immediate effect will be fatigue felt immediately after the treatment. Some other conditions will occur over time. These may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Hair loss
- Mouth sores
- A decrease of white blood cells which may lead to other illnesses
- Bruising or bleeding
- Changes in the menstrual cycle
- Temporary or permanent menopause
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