In this piece of content, you are going to get the information about what happens to your body during Chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy means treatment with anti-cancer drugs. As far as the history of cancer chemotherapy is concerned, it has been in use since 1940. The first chemotherapy for cancer was nitrogen mustard and folic acid antagonist drugs. Since then, many new drugs have been made and tried clinically. A great deal of research is still in progress to design new cancer drugs.
What happens during Chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy is also known as “chemo”. Anti-cancer or anti-neoplastic drugs are used to kill cancer cells or to stop them from dividing. As they damage the cells, they are called cytotoxic drugs. Chemo drugs impair the process of mitosis, the process by which cells divide. Today’s therapies use more than 100 different substances to treat cancer.
After the 2nd World War, some people were exposed to mustard gas. Mustard gas results in the decrement of white blood cells (WBCs). Usually, the growth of WBC is very rapid and similar to neoplastic cells as they grow and divide very quickly. Doctors studied whether it was the effect of mustard gas. If they could slow down the growth of WBC, then they definitely could also reduce the multiplication of neoplastic cells. Scientists then experimented with the patients who had advanced lymphoma, by adding substances in mustard gas and observing any improvements. Following this, many molecules were studied and found to shrink the cancerous masses (tumors) and to prove thus beneficial in treatment.
Chemotherapy acts by targeting fast-dividing cancer cells and killing them. Unfortunately, there are also normal body cells, such as bone marrow cells, cells lining the mouth and intestines, and hair follicle cells, which divide rapidly. These chemo drugs affect them too, causing common side effects such as nausea, vomiting, hair loss, and a decrease in blood cells.
Chemotherapy is used on its own or in combination with other forms of treatment.
The strategy is decided by the oncologist depend on what type of cancer is involved and how advanced it is.