Chemotherapy for Cancer


Chemotherapy is a treatment that uses specific drugs (anticancer agents or chemicals) to attack cancer cells. Because cancer cells usually grow at an abnormal rate and invade normal tissue, drugs used in chemotherapy are intended to inhibit cancer cell growth, prevent division, or destroy them.

Characteristics of chemotherapy:

The drug is carried through the blood to the body and can reach cancer cells wherever they reside. This makes them effective even when the cancer has spread to different parts of the body. Chemotherapy is also used for many different types of cancer. Certain drugs are more effective against certain cancers and are selected based on the type and stage of the cancer. Chemotherapy may be used in combination with other treatments. It may be used to shrink cancer before surgery, to prevent recurrence after surgery, or to treat cancer in combination with radiation therapy.

How drugs used in chemotherapy work:

Various types of drugs are used according to symptoms: those that suppress the immune system and inhibit cancer cell growth, those that inhibit cancer cell DNA synthesis and destroy cancer cells, those that inhibit metabolism and prevent cancer cell growth, those that interfere with DNA repair and damage cancer cells, those that inhibit DNA replication, those that stabilize microtubules and prevent cancer cell division, those that bind to DNA and prevent cancer cell division, those that inhibit cancer cell division.

Targeted Therapy Drugs (Molecularly Targeted Drugs):

Targeted therapeutics work against specific molecular targets involved in growth and survival within cancer cells. It is very effective against some cancers and provides control of the cancer and stabilization of the disease. Drugs are selected based on the type of cancer and genetic profile. In addition, targeted therapies usually act selectively on cancer cells and have little effect on surrounding normal cells. This minimizes side effects.

Side effect:

While chemotherapy has an effect on cancer cells, it also affects normal cells. This can result in side effects. Side effects depend on the type of drug, duration of treatment, and the individual constitution of the patient and commonly include nausea, fatigue, and loss of hair.