Cancer Care: How does chemo work?

While side effects of chemo can make a person feel worse, chemo itself can work wonders in making him or her healthier.

Chemo can be a scary word. Sometimes it helps to have an understanding of just what the word means, and how chemotherapy works.

Chemotherapy is a drug therapy often used to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. Chemo was first used as a cancer treatment in the 1950s. Today there are more than 100 different chemo drugs; the drug or drugs a doctor uses are based on the type of cancer being treated and the stage of the disease.

• Chemo may be administered daily, weekly, monthly or on a specific schedule per a doctor. And while intravenous chemo may be the most well known form, chemo can also be given orally or by way of a shot.

• In the process of killing cancer cells, chemo can also damage healthy cells and cause a patient to suffer side effects such as nausea, fatigue, hair loss and more. If a patient experiences side effects, and the specific side effects he or she suffers, is dependent on the type and dose of chemotherapy used. And while side effects can make a person feel worse, chemo is still doing its job. A doctor will evaluate the progress of chemo treatment with the use of blood tests, x-rays and other tests.

To learn more cancer treatment, visit The Cancer Care Center at Oak Hill Hospital online, or call our Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-888-741-5120.

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