What is Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a popular cancer treatment method that employs the use of drugs in stopping the growth of cancer cells. It is mainly used for treating Mesothelioma Stages 2, 3 and 4. It is also given to help alleviate the symptoms and attempt to delay the effects of cancer.

What is Chemotherapy
What is Chemotherapy

This treatment method is often being administered in the form of pills or injections. A known disadvantage of chemotherapy is that it could cause the patient to feel very ill because of the effects of the high toxicity drugs that are used.
Chemotherapy side effects may include:

Hair Loss
Weight Loss
Physical Fatigue

However, there are post-chemotherapy medications that are available to help ease the discomfort brought about by these side effects. Considering the fact that chemotherapy drugs do not target a specific area, these medicines must course through the entire body before reaching the affected area. That being said, chemotherapy may affect those healthy tissues and cells and therefore cause side effects.

Methods of Administration

Chemotherapy could be administered orally or could be given intravenously or intramuscularly injected. Some instances would call for chemotherapy to be administered into the chest cavity (Intrapleural), or into the abdominal cavity (intraperitoneal). Chemotherapy drugs are usually heated to make them work better.

Chemotherapy Schedule of Treatment

Chemotherapy treatment could be done every weekly, every two to three weeks or monthly, depending on the type of drug being used. These medicines are given in cycles, with rest periods in between to allow the body to recover while following a course of treatment. Each cycle lasts for about three to four weeks at a time.

For example; the Pemetrexed/Cisplatin procedure includes the intravenous infusion of the drug pemetrexed on day one. The cycle lasts for 21 days which means that the treatment is repeated in three weeks.

Chemotherapy: How it Works

In systemic chemotherapy, the drugs reach the cancer cells throughout the body as they enter the bloodstream. When chemotherapy is administered directly into a body cavity such as the abdomen, the drugs primarily affect the cancer cells found in the area.

How does Chemotherapy Affect Mesothelioma?

A variety of chemotherapy agents have been tested on patients suffering from Mesothelioma. Although some of these agents performed effectively; proving the extent of their effectiveness has been difficult, mostly due to the number of patients required to arrive at statistically significant results.
Given the nature of the disease is so rare, the clinical trials that were done for Mesothelioma have been small in size. This gave way to the common misconception that Mesothelioma is untreatable.

In the advent of new and active drugs that have been developed and have been evaluated in larger clinical trials for Mesothelioma, we could safely conclude that chemotherapy can indeed shrink tumors, decrease the symptoms and prolong the life of patients, suffering from the condition.


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