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It is the use of medications indicated for patients diagnosed with cancer. Unlike radiation therapy and surgery, chemotherapy is considered a systemic treatment. This means that it has action on almost your entire body. The goal of treatment is to destroy malignant cells using blood as a means of transportation. It works by destroying cancer cells by preventing them from growing and multiplying. Because cancer cells have abnormal and accelerated growth relative to healthy cells, chemotherapy destroys them faster.
Chemotherapy is one of the pillars of cancer treatment. Doctors use chemotherapy in different ways at different times:
- Before surgery or radiation therapy to shrink tumors, known as neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
- After surgery or radiation therapy to kill any cancer cells that persist; known as adjuvant chemotherapy.
- As the only treatment, for example, to treat cancers of the blood or lymphatic system. These include leukemia and lymphomas.
- For cancer that comes back after treatment, called recurrent cancer.
- For cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, called metastatic cancer: palliative chemotherapy.
Like most drugs, chemotherapy drugs have side effects. It is easy to confuse these side effects with the symptoms of cancer. Different medications have different short and long-term side effects. Not all chemotherapy drugs cause all side effects. Chemotherapy usually damages cells that are dividing, those parts of the body where normal cells frequently divide. The mouth, intestines, skin, hair, bone marrow are commonly affected. Hair grows all the time. The skin is constantly renewed. The same happens with the walls of the mouth and the digestive system, for this, all these tissues must constantly divide to produce new cells and this makes the symptoms temporary (during treatment).
At Cancun Cancer Institute we apply chemotherapy in specific areas known as infusion rooms. Our spacious and comfortable room has 10 seats designed for the application of the treatment, illuminated areas with a cozy atmosphere, television and WiFi.
Intravenous chemotherapy (I.V.). Many chemotherapy drugs are injected directly into a vein. Doctors call it intravenous chemotherapy, or I.V. The treatment takes from a few minutes to a few hours.
Oral chemotherapy. It can be a tablet, capsule, or liquid. Some of these medications are administered daily and others less frequently. For example, a drug can be administered every day for four weeks, followed by a two-week break.
The medical oncologist is the health professional in charge of cancer treatment and monitoring. The medical oncologist is the one who indicates the treatment plans, monitors and controls the possible adverse effects.
The indicated treatments vary depending on the patient and her comorbidities, the pathology to be treated, the clinical stage in which she is, etc.
Among the therapeutic arsenal we find:
- White Therapies.
Also called biological therapy, it is a type of cancer treatment that stimulates the body’s natural defenses to fight cancer. It uses substances produced by the body or made in a laboratory to improve or restore the function of the immune system.
Hormone therapy or cancer treatment with hormones is one of the arsenal therapies available in the treatment of some tumors such as breast and prostate cancer.