When someone uses the word chemotherapy they immediately think of cancer. Chemotherapy is a drug or a group of drugs that can be used to treat different diseases. The word chemo is a shorten version and often used term for chemotherapy. Many different types of cancers use chemotherapy along with surgery and radiation therapy. The main purpose of chemotherapy is to slow the growth and destroy the cancer cells found within the body.
Once cancer has divided and grown outside its original origin it is considered that the cancer has metastasized. The type of cancer and its advancement within the body will decide the course of action the doctor will take. Chemotherapy can be personalized to an individual’s cancer and needs. The goal of introducing chemotherapy to the body is either to cure the cancer, to control the cancer and its growth, or to comfort the patient and the cancer’s side effects on the patient’s body. When comforting the patient with chemotherapy it is called palliative care or palliation. Palliative care is used in many of the advanced stages of cancers when the cancer is not under control or the side effects have become debilitating. Palliation is to comfort the patient as much as possible to maintain a quality of life while fighting the disease.
Chemotherapy can be the use of a single drug or multiple drugs depending on the type of cancer. Also, a doctor will take into consideration a patient’s age, health, grade of cancer, and type of cancer to personalize the chemotherapy drug and how often it is to be delivered to the patient. A schedule of chemotherapy may be in regular intervals with a cycle of drugs followed by several days or weeks without treatment. The time between treatments allows normal cells to recover. There are some chemotherapy drugs that work best when they are continuously given over a set number of days. Chemotherapy is a powerful chemical of drugs that is ultimately introduced into the body to stop the advancement of fast growing cancer cells.