Chemotherapy Introduction

Chemotherapy is an aggressive form of chemical drug therapy meant to destroy rapidly growing cells in the body. It’s usually used to treat cancer, as cancer cells grow and divide faster than other cells.

Chemotherapy is often used in combination with other therapies, such as surgery, radiation, or hormone therapy.

It’s considered a systemic treatment, which means it affects the entire body.

Chemotherapy has been proven to effectively attack cancer cells, but it can cause serious side effects that can severely impact the quality of life of the patient.

Chemotherapy is primarily used to:

  • Lower the total number of cancer cells in your body
  • Reduce the likelihood of cancer spreading to other organs (Metastasis)
  • Shrink tumor size
  • Reduce current symptoms

Chemotherapy is also used to prepare the patient for other treatments. It could be used to shrink a tumor so it can be surgically removed, or to prepare for radiation therapy.

In the case of late-stage cancer, chemotherapy may help relieve pain (palliative care).

Besides treatment for cancer, chemotherapy may be used to prepare people with bone marrow diseases for a bone marrow stem cell treatment, and it may be used for immune system disorders.

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