Chemotherapy in India
The term Chemotherapy is a general treatments that use chemical agents (drugs) to kill cancer cells in the
body.The term Chemotherapy, often shortened to just "chemo," that actually means that it affects the whole
body by going through the bloodstream. In this therapy many different kinds of drugs are used, either alone
or in combination, to treat different kinds cancers. The specific drug or combination used is chosen to best
combat the type and extent of cancer present.
"Normal" cells stop dividing when they come into contact with other like cells, this technique is known as contact inhibition. Cancerous cells lose this ability. Cancer cells donot have the normal checks and balances in place so as to control and stop the cell division. The ability of chemotherapy to kill cancer cells depends on its ability to stop the cell from dividing. Mostly, cancer drugs work through damaging the RNA or DNA that are responsible for the cell division. When the cancer cells can not divide, they die. The faster that cancer cells divide, it is more effective to chemotherapy, causing the tumor to shrink. They also induce cell suicide that is self-death or apoptosis.
With the advancement of science and medicine more than 50 anticancer drugs have been discovered. They are used in several ways:
a. Monotherapy or only one drug
b. Combination chemotherapy or a group of drugs which work together
c. Combined modality or chemotherapy along with other treatment such as surgery and radiotherapy
Treating Cancer With Chemotherapy
People fear chemotherapy because they only know about the uncomfortable side effects of this therapy. But with the advancement of medicine over the last few decades has made these side-effect manageable. Today, many of the side effects associated with this therapy can be prevented or controlled. Even in some type of chemotherapy, we might experience only minimal side effects. Today chemotherapy is the best option for a successful outcome. We can achieve a successful outcome by understanding what impact these side effects can have on our treatment. We have to Learn how best to manage to overcome these chemotherapy side effects.
Ant treatment involving the use of chemical agents to stop cancer cells from growing has given the general term as Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is considered a systemic treatment, as it can eliminate cancer cells at sites great distances from the original cancer.So people diagnosed with cancer mostly receive chemotherapy. Millions of people having cancer are now effectively treated with chemotherapy and which enable them to enjoy a full and productive lives
The treatment plan and schedule of chemotherapy mainly includes drugs to fight against cancer nad also drugs that help and support completion of the cancer treatment at full dose based on schedule.Most doctors recommend that staying on chemotherapy give a cancer patient the best opportunity for a successful result.
In order to find out which drugs works against a particular type of cancer these chemotherapy drugs are tested against various types of cancer.Mostly to maximize the effect against a particular type of cancer, multiple drugs or a combination of several drugs are tried. In order to make the treatment more tolerable and effective a combination of drugs are applied so that there are few overlapping side effects. These combination of drugs are then clinically tested in several clinical trials so as to test how much effective they are. If a certain combination works better than the current standard treatment then it is taken as the new standard therapy.
How does Chemotherapy works ?
Chemotherapy drugs are generally injected in to the blood cells,or delivered orally in the form of a pill, depending on which drug is used. They go around the overall body and can stop or prevent the cancer-cells to spite where they are discovered in the body. For this reason doctors make use of this treatment when they expect, there might be cancer- cells in extra than one element of the human body. In case a few cancer cell rising for a while unnoticed, can grow to major tumor and spread to the near tissues. They can even spread to the organ like liver & lungs. A doctor can only slash out the major cancer tumor, and nearby tissue which are affected.The method Radiotherapy uses rays to remove cancer-cells, is only effective on small areas of the human body or else it causes harm to a lot of healthy-cells.
So mostly after an operation done to remove cancer cell, chemotherapy is given to wash-out or mop â€“up any leftover effected cells. There are a number of cancer- cells like leukemia, which require chemotherapy as because they engage cells which start overall the human body. This therapy is followed by the doctors to get a tumor smaller so as to make it easier for the doctor to remove it. For patients whose cancer-cell is not curable chemotherapy can reduce the symptoms.
How Can We know if Chemotherapy is effective?
If ofter the therapy given there is no apparent cancer present. The effect of chemotherapy on cancer cells is measured in terms of "response." The techniques to monitor responses is similar to the tests done to diagnose cancer.
- Physical examination can measure externally if any lump or tumor involving some lymph nodes
- An x-ray or CT scan will show if any internal cancer tumors and can measure with a ruler
- Blood tests can be done including those that measure organ function
For certain type of cancers a tumor marker test can also be done.
Regardless of the test done that is whether a blood test, or a cell count, or tumor marker test, it is repeated at specific intervals and the results is compared to earlier tests of the same type to know the effectiveness of the therapy give to the person.
How do doctors decide which Chemotherapy drugs to be given?
Based on a variety of information and factors the doctors select the type of chemotherapy drugs.
a. Research : The type of cancer, the stage of cancer, and other specifics about the person's cancer helps the doctors to select a specific protocols that is the types of drugs, doses of drugs and schedule of drugs. Presently, most types of cancer have some standard protocols that help the doctors to select the right chemotherapy drug for an individual having a particular type of cancer.
b. Response rates : After choosing a protocol for a given patient, doctors records the response rate of the particular type and stage of cancer to the applied drug or drugs. Response rates is estimated on the basis of record of the number of people whose tumors will respond that is it will shrink or disappear after the drug or drugs given. Like for example, a certain type of cancer at a certain stage might have a 70% response rate to a certain combination of drugs. Which means that 70% of the people at this type and stage of tumor have a positive response which means shrinkage or disappearance of the tumor to the combination of drugs given. On the otherhand it also means that other 30% of the people at this type and stage of cancer didnot have a possitive respond or had a minimal response to the treatment given. According to the type of cancer and the specific protocol selected by the doctors responses to therapy can be either complete or partial. Another consideration in determining which drugs to be given is response duration and how long will the responses last? On the basis of research, an average response duration for any given drug protocol has been recorded. Protocols with the highest response rates and longest recorded durations is selected by the Doctors.
c. The health of the patient : Lastly chemotherapy has toxicities. So it must be given with proper care even to healthy individuals. Persons who are extremely old and frail or those who have other medical complications may not be able to tolerate specific type of chemotherapy protocols. In such case, the doctors discuss the potential risks versus benefits, to the concerns before starting the treatment. In certain cases, the doctors might recommend a single drug rather than a "standard combination" of drugs. In some other cases, the doctor and patient may decide not to pursue this therapy and to focus on quality of life. There is not a single choice in choosing the right therapy. Every treatment protocol selected has some advantages and disadvantages.There can be other treatment choices and the treatment choices can change over time. A good chemotherapy treatment choice at some point of time might not be the choice at a later time.
Though the doctors select the best treatment protocols for their patients based on the recent chemotherapy research and the best response rates but none of them can give a guarantee that an individual will achieve the desired response. The outcome of therapy for any individual is nearly impossible to predic. However new drugs are being developed continuously so outcomes has continuously improved, resulting a dramatic improvement in the response rate.
Side-Effect of Chemotherapy
The work of Chemotherapy is to destroy cancer-cells but unfortunately, it cannot distinguish the difference between a cancer cell and some healthy cells. So this therapy eliminates not only the fast-growing cancer cells but also other fast-growing healthy cells in our body which includes hair and blood cells.So there is some side effects of chemotherapy like:
1. Low white blood cell count
2. Low red blood cell count
3. Low platelet count
6. Hair loss
Some of these side effects are temporary and uncomfortable. Mostly people fear chemotherapy because of these side effects. But over the last few decades many of these side effects have been controlled. Some type of Chemotherapy has only some minimal side effects. So this therapy is the best option for a successful outcome.
Chemotherapy may be given at home, in a clinic or in a hospital. Depending on the cancer or on the type of drug the body response to, the frequency of chemotherapy can be daily, weekly, monthly. The dosage of the drug given is calculated on the basis of the patient's body weight and the drug's toxicity.
India has gained repute across the world for its highly qualified and experienced medical teams, which are competent enough to provide highly specialized care to medical tourists from across the world. Leading cancer hospitals in India are facilitated with latest drugs with clinical research back up for chemotherapy treatment. World Class chemotherapy treatment is offered at cancer hospitals in India, comparable with any of the western countries. India has state-of-the-art Hospitals and the well qualified doctors. With the best infrastructure, the best possible Medical facilities, accompanied with the most competitive pricing, you can get the treatment done in India at the lowest charges.
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