Chemotherapy, At times referred simply as “chemo”kills fast-growing cancer cells.
It may be given before or after surgery. These are sometimes referred to as “anti-cancer” drugs. Chemotherapy is used for a variety of purposes like to cure a specific cancer;control tumor growth when cure is not possible;shrink tumors before surgery or radiation therapy;relieve symptoms (such as pain); anddestroy microscopic cancer cells that may be present after the known tumor is removed by surgery (called adjuvant therapy).
The side effects depend mainly on which drugs are administered and how much.
Chemotherapy may cause hair loss. If you lose your hair, it will grow back after treatment, but the colour and texture may be changed.
Similarly when drugs lower the levels of healthy blood cells, youare more likely to get infections, bruise or bleed easily, and feel very weak and tired. There are also medicines that can help your body make new blood cells.
Chemotherapy can cause a poor appetite, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, or mouth and lip sores. But again medicines help with these problems and they usually go away when treatment ends.
The good news is your doctor will suggest ways to control many of these side effects.