WHAT IS CHEMOTHERAPY?

Chemotherapy is a method of treating cancer using drugs or medicines. These drugs are potent chemicals that kill or destroy the fast-growing cells in the body. 

Unlike radiation therapy or surgery, which only targets a specific area of the body, chemotherapy involves all fast-growing cells such as skin, hair, bone marrow, and intestine.  

Chemotherapy is one of the main treatments used along or before surgery to either shrink the size of the tumor or kill all the remaining cancerous cells. 

USES OF CHEMOTHERAPY 

The procedure of chemotherapy is used for different purposes. Some of the primary uses of chemotherapy are: 

  • To shrink the size of a tumor 
  • To lower the number of cancerous cells in the body 
  • Reduce the symptoms 
  • Reduce the risk of the spread of cancer to other parts of the body. 

Patients with breast cancer or other cancers are advised by the oncologist to go under chemotherapy before surgery to shrink the tumor. 

In addition, some are advised to undergo chemotherapy after surgery to destroy any lingering cancer cells in the surrounding area, which could be a threat to the patient or could be the reason for the recurrence of cancer. 

In a few cases, chemotherapy is used to relieve pain at the late stage of cancer.  

PROCEDURE OF CHEMOTHERAPY 

Chemotherapy can be administered into the patient’s body via different administration routes such as intravenous, oral, intraperitoneal, intrathecal etc. 

The type of routes is enlisted below: 

  1. Injection: The medications are injected straight into the patient’s hip, thigh, or arm muscle or into the fatty area of the arm, leg, or stomach, just beneath the skin. 
  2. Intra-arterial (IA): The medications are injected directly into the artery that feeds the malignancy using a needle or a soft, thin tubing. 
  3. Intraperitoneal (IP) administration: The medications are administered to the peritoneal cavity, which contains organs such as the liver, intestines, stomach, and ovaries. 
  4. Intrathecal (IT) chemotherapy involves injecting medication into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which surrounds the spinal cord and brain. 
  5. Intravenous (IV) chemotherapy is administered straight into a vein. 
  6. Topical means that the medicine is applied to the patient’s skin in the form of a lotion. 
  7. Oral: You take a tablet orally. 

The location of the therapy is determined by the approach the patient chooses. For example, if they use lotions or tablets, they can administer treatments to themselves at home. However, other operations are often carried out in a hospital or cancer treatment facility.  

The oncologist will advise the patient’s chemotherapy plan, including how frequently they receive treatment, according to the size of the tumor and the overall health of the patient. 

It can be adjusted if the patient’s body does not tolerate the therapy well, or it can be raised or lowered based on how well cancer cells respond to therapies. 

CHEMOTHERAPY COSTS IN INDIA 

Chemotherapy is relatively inexpensive in India as compared to other wealthy countries. However, the cost is also determined by the kind and stage of cancer, the dosage, and the type of chemotherapy used. 

The cost of this cancer treatment in India is determined by how chemotherapy is administered. The cost of chemotherapy in India ranges from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 2,50,000. 

  • Chemotherapy is administered through IV (intravenous chemotherapy), with costs ranging from Rs. 70,000 to Rs. 1,00,000. 
  • Oral chemotherapy is another popular method of delivery; oral chemotherapy costs Rs. 56,000 in India. 
  • Chemotherapy port prices start at Rs. 2,00,000 since minor surgery is required; therefore, the expenses are more remarkable. These fees, as well as any subsequent treatments, are included in a package. 
  • Palliative chemotherapy is used when cancer has spread and chemotherapy is no longer effective in treating it. Palliative chemotherapy costs around Rs.40,000 per day in India. 

The type of chemotherapy determines the cost of chemotherapy, the amount administered, and the frequency with which it is administered. It also depends on where you live and if you receive care at home, at a clinic, or in a hospital. 

OUTLOOK 

Chemotherapy is a treatment that aims to kill or damage cancer cells. At the same time, it frequently affects healthy cells, resulting in various negative effects. Most of these adverse effects are temporary and curable. 

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