What is chemotherapy and how does it work?
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells. It usually works by keeping the cancer cells from growing, dividing, and making more cells. Because cancer cells usually grow and divide faster than normal cells, chemotherapy has more of an effect on cancer cells.
Does chemo kill cancer?
Chemo is considered a systemic treatment because the drugs travels throughout the body, and can kill cancer cells that have spread (metastasized) to parts of the body far away from the original (primary) tumor. This makes it different from treatments like surgery and radiation.
Is chemotherapy painful?
Does chemotherapy hurt? IV chemotherapy should not cause any pain while being administered. If you experience pain, contact the nurse taking care of you to check your IV line. An exception would be if there is a leak and the drug gets into surrounding tissues.
What happens during chemotherapy?
How does chemotherapy work? It targets cells that grow and divide quickly, as cancer cells do. Unlike radiation or surgery, which target specific areas, chemo can work throughout your body. But it can also affect some fast-growing healthy cells, like those of the skin, hair, intestines, and bone marrow.
How many rounds of chemo is normal?
You may need four to eight cycles to treat your cancer. A series of cycles is called a course. Your course can take 3 to 6 months to complete — and you may need more than one course of chemo to beat the cancer.
Do you lose your hair with chemo tablets?
Chemotherapy may cause hair loss all over your body — not just on your scalp. Sometimes your eyelash, eyebrow, armpit, pubic and other body hair also falls out. Some chemotherapy drugs are more likely than others to cause hair loss, and different doses can cause anything from a mere thinning to complete baldness.
Does Chemo make you smell?
Powerful chemotherapy drugs can give your urine a strong or unpleasant odor. It might be even worse if you‘re dehydrated. A foul odor and dark-colored urine could mean that you have a urinary tract infection (UTI). Another side effect of chemotherapy is dry mouth.
Can you die during chemo?
Chemotherapy given to treat cancer patients is powerful medication – used to kill cancer cells – and it’s impossible to avoid causing some damage to other cells and tissues in the body. So when we give the medication to kill the cancer cells patients get sick – sometimes very sick – and some may die.
What foods destroy cancer cells?
Cruciferous vegetables — Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens and kale are all considered cruciferous vegetables. These vegetables contain chemicals called glucosinolates that fight cancer in several ways.
How long is a chemo treatment?
Chemotherapy treatment varies in length and frequency and depends on the individual treatment plan prescribed by your doctor. Some last as long as three or four hours, while others may only take a half-hour. Your doctor can provide an estimate of the time involved during your first consultation.
Why does chemo hurt so bad?
Generalized pain, including chronic muscle pain, headaches, and other aches and pains, is common after chemotherapy. For some people, this pain may be due to stress and the tension of a cancer diagnosis. Nerve damage due to chemotherapy may also cause pain. The severity of the pain varies.
How can I lose my chemo belly?
In the meantime, try the following strategies to help yourself feel better:
- Food & Beverages. Choose food carefully.
- Chew, Chew, Chew. Chew food slowly and try to be aware of not gulping in air along the way.
- Be Careful with Dairy.
- Stay Hydrated.
- Try Tea.
- Hot Water Bottle.
What should you not do after chemo?
Foods to avoid (especially for patients during and after chemo):
- Hot, spicy foods (i.e. hot pepper, curry, Cajun spice mix).
- High fiber foods (i.e. raw fruit and vegetables, coarse whole grains).
- Fatty, greasy, or fried foods.
- Rich desserts.
- Nuts, seeds, or dried fruit.
What should you not do during chemotherapy?
Stay away from strong smelling foods to avoid aggravating any disorders of taste. Avoid fatty fried, spicy and overly sweet foods, as they may induce nausea. Avoid refined sugars (including raw, brown and palm sugar) as well as refined carbohydrates as most tumours prefer glucose as a source of energy.
How do I prepare for my first chemo treatment?
Before your first chemotherapy infusion
- Let your oncology care team demystify chemotherapy for you.
- Keep your other medical care up-to-date.
- Eat well now and later.
- Arrange for help at home and work.
- Ask someone to come to your first appointment for support and company.
- Prepare a bag to bring with you.