What is chemotherapy?

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refers to a type of treatment strategy that involves the use of various drugs or chemicals in the battle against cancer.  The basic goal of treatment is to stop the cancer cells from further growth and/or development.  In the medical field, chemotherapy is considered a very aggressive form of treatment procedure because of the chemicals and drugs used.  It is often considered as the last treatment option for patients that are diagnosed to have cancer.

Cancer is a dreaded disease and affects many people across the globe.  This disease is basically characterized by the rapid and abnormal growth of different cells in the body.  Cells in people with cancer grow bigger and multiply at a very fast rate.  As these cancerous cells develop, cell function will be affected along with the activities of nearby cells and other structures. With chemotherapy, these cells will be targeted to stop growing and proliferating. The problem with chemotherapy is that the strong drugs and chemicals will also affect the healthy and normal cells of the body. The drugs used for treatment will be unable to check if the cells they target are normal or cancerous.  With this effect, many patients undergoing chemotherapy will have compromised immune systems making them susceptible to infections and other diseases.

Chemotherapy is often aimed at producing total remission or total healing of cancer.  In this particular case, chemotherapy for several sessions over several months may be enough to stop the abnormal growth and development of cancer cells. There are also cases wherein chemotherapy is prescribed along with other forms of anti-cancer treatments like surgery and/or radiation therapy for example.  Combination treatments are typically prescribed for advanced cases of cancer, especially those that involve the spreading of cancer cells to various parts and organs of the body.  There are also times wherein chemotherapy is done to help relieve symptoms of cancer or at least delay the progression of the disease.

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