Chemotherapy is another way of saying "chemical treatment", which is exactly what it is ... chemicals being intraveinously administered to kill cancer cells. I've often wondered who the first human was who agreed to undergo chemotherapy, and I thank God they did.

Chemotherapy is used for a variety of reasons:

  1. To kill cancer cells
  2. Slow or control tumor growth for incurable cancers
  3. Shrink tumors before other treatments are administered such as surgery or radiation
  4. Relieve symptoms associated with cancer such as pain
  5. As adjuvant therapy: to destroy microscopic cancer cells that may be lurking undetectable, somewhere in the body after surgery.

Normal cells live, grow and die in a predictable way; however, cancer cells do not. They divide and form new cells uncontrollably. The purpose of chemotherapy is to destroy the cells ability to multiply, which in turn destroys the cells. The downside to this, of course, is that chemo drugs cannot differentiate between normal and abnormal cells. Therefore depending on the type of cancer and corresponding chemo drugs, many patients lose their hair and nails, develop mouth and skin sores, experience nausea and vomiting and other side effects. Fortunately, there are many drugs on the market that help control some of the side effects like nausea and vomiting.

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Karen Moody ...© All rights reserved