Chemo or chemotherapy is a name we give to
drugs that we use to treat cancer. Well, actually what they do is they treat rapidly dividing
cells. Now, as you know cancer is rapidly dividing cells that have forgotten how to
stop growing, or they’ve got the accelerator pushed down and they divide too much. But
there are other cells in your body that are rapidly dividing too. Your hair for example,
or the lining of your mouth and your guts, or even your bone marrow where your blood
gets made. And that explains where the side-effects come from. You see, most chemo can’t tell
the difference between the cancer cells and the rapidly dividing normal cells. That’s
why chemotherapy, when it gives you its side effects, affects all those sorts of areas.
So it might mean that your hair falls out, it might mean that you get a sore mouth or
sore guts and feel sick. It might be that it affects your blood production and you might
need a blood transfusion, or a platelet transfusion. The way that the chemo works is that the various
drugs get inside the cells that are dividing, and they kill them off and stop them being
allowed to grow any more. That’s how we get rid of the cancer. Chemo we use as a word
for all sorts of drugs though, and different people’s chemo comes in different ways. For
some people it will be a tablet or a medicine, for others it will be a short injection. For
others it will be an infusion, that is so the chemotherapy in a bag that goes in over
the course of a few hours or maybe even days. Usually what happens is we give chemo and
then we let that chemo work, and the way that it works, its side effects, means that it’s
about 3 weeks until the chemo has done its job and your body is recovered enough to have
more chemotherapy. That cycle length varies between the different types of chemo and it
might be 3 weeks, some of them it might be 4 weeks in between chemo cycles. We wait and
we test to make sure the body is ready for the next cycle of chemotherapy, and we do
that with blood tests, other tests sometimes, and by looking at you and seeing how you’re
feeling. Exactly which chemo is right for you will depend on your tumour and exactly
where you are on your treatment course.

1 thought on “Cancer treatment: all about chemotherapy”

  1. Chemotherapy can kill humans and isn't an effective Cancer "treatment".

    All "treatments" are inferior life-saving and life-longing actions possibly theoretically "conditioning" and are invalid conclusions.

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