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Chemotherapy refers to treatment using medication in
precisely measured doses designed to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy helps
to keep the cancer from spreading in your body, decreases the rate at which
cancer is growing, alleviates complications from cancer symptoms such as pain
or blockages, and most importantly, can help to cure the cancer.
Chemotherapy is usually given in cycles through a planned administration
sequence followed by a period or rest. The time in between each cycle gives the
body a chance to recover and repair cells. The cycle duration is dependent on
the type of cancer and the extent of the disease. The treatment may include a
single chemotherapy drug or several drugs. Cancer management may also include
radiation therapy and surgery.
While chemotherapeutic drug treatments can save lives, they
can also temporarily affect healthy cells. As a result, patients may experience
a variety of side effects, which may include, but are not limited to, anemia,
fatigue, flu-like symptoms, hair loss, infection, infertility, nausea and
vomiting, nervous system changes, and sexual changes. The oncology health care
team at San Antonio will discuss management of the potential side effects. For
example, medications are given before and after chemotherapy to help combat
nausea and vomiting. San Antonio’s goal remains to make our patients and
families as comfortable as possible while our cancer experts along with our
state-of-the-art technology serve as your partner in this process.
Your surgeon may also remove some lymph nodes in the localized area to determine if the cancer has spread. This helps your doctor assess the need for further treatment options.
Traditionally, the primary purpose of cancer surgery is to cure your cancer by physically removing all of it from your body. The surgeon usually does this by removing the cancerous area along with some surrounding tissue to ensure that all of the cancer is eliminated.
Radiation oncology involves the exposure of cancer cells to high doses of radiation with the goal of killing the cancerous tumor while allowing the adjacent normal cells to repair themselves.
Radiation is targeted, localized treatment that can be used alone as well as in conjunction with other treatments, including surgery or chemotherapy.
For more information on radiation oncology, contact our Radiation Oncology team at 909.920.4841.