Principle and Action of Chemotherapy on cancer cells:
Cancer is the uncontrolled and autonomous growth of cells, which is caused due to environmental toxins among genetically susceptible individuals. Action of chemotherapy drugs depends upon several factors which are listed below,
- Since most of the chemotherapy drugs target cell division (i.e. the process through which cells divide and grow), chemotherapy is found to be more effective in cancers that have a fast growth rate compared to cancers with a slower growth rate. Fast growing cancers, are more sensitive to chemotherapy, allowing it to target a larger portion of cancer cells, which are undergoing cell division.
- Chemotherapy drugs are preferred in the initial stages of cancer. During this stage, cells are still differentiated and regulated by various mechanisms of cell growth. With successive generation of tumor cells, differentiation is lost and growth is less regulated, rendering chemotherapy less effective on older cancers.
- Cancer cells tend to develop resistance to chemotherapy drugs, after a prolonged treatment. Hence chemotherapy tends to become ineffective after a particular period of time, which depends upon the individuals profile and sensitivity to chemotherapy drugs and the nature of the tumor.
Preparation before Chemotherapy:
- Prior to initiating the treatment, the patient is made to undergo a series of tests like CT scan, MRI, and PET scan, to evaluate the extent of the tumor. These tests may be repeated at a later stage to evaluate the effectiveness of the chemotherapy treatment regimen on the patient.
- The patient is subjected to basic medical checkup like electrocardiogram to evaluate the patient’s cardiovascular condition.
- Some doctors recommend dental checkups before undertaking chemotherapy. The oral cavity is full of bacteria which enter the blood stream by simple activities like brushing or flossing the teeth. Normally, our immune system is strong enough to fight these bacteria, however with chemotherapy; the immunity goes down considerably, leaving the individual prone to bacterial infections. Hence dental checkups are recommended.
- Certain chemotherapy drugs have some restrictions related to your diet. Hence it is possible that your doctor would recommend to you a change in diet.
- It is best to brief your doctor about the supplements or over the counter medicines (laxatives, painkillers, cold medications, anti-allergic drugs, herbs, etc) that you commonly take. Some of these medicines can interfere with the action of some of the chemotherapy drugs, hence it is best to get it verified with your doctor
Delivery and Dosage of Chemotherapy drugs:
- Most chemotherapy drugs are given intravenously and tend to have a systemic effect. This intravenous administration can be done on an out-patient or in-patient basis.
- Some of the chemotherapy drugs are prescribed orally.
- Some of the drugs are through “Isolated perfusions”. These isolated perfusions are directed towards any limb, liver or lungs, with the intention of delivering high dose chemotherapy drugs at the site of the cancer, without causing extensive systemic damage.
- The dose is prescribed based on the Body Surface Area (BSA), which gives a co- relational estimation of the blood volume. The Body Surface Area is calculated through a mathematical table, based on the weight and the height of the patient.
Common side effects of Chemotherapy:
- Suppression of the Immune System: This makes the patient more prone to infections
- Fall in red blood cells and platelet count: This results in symptoms like fatigue, weakness, and feeling of ill health and increases the tendency of the patient to bleed or develop bruises.
- Gastrointestinal distress: The patient may develop symptoms like diarrhea or constipation, nausea, vomiting, heart burns. These may be accompanied with systemic symptoms like loss of appetite, weight loss and occasionally weight gain.
- Hair loss: A commonly known side-effect of chemotherapy, hair loss occurs due to thinning of hair and extensive hair fall. This is a temporary effect and the patient recovers about six weeks after the therapy is completed.
- Chemotherapy can cause damage to other essential organs like heart, liver and kidney.
- There is substantial clinical evidence which suggests that patients tend to develop secondary neoplasm after successful treatment with chemotherapy
- Other less frequent and less toxic complications include erythema and allergies of the skin, dryness of the mouth and pain. Sexual impotence and neuro-cognitive problems are also observed in some groups of patients.
Chemotherapy in India:
India has gained repute across the world for its highly qualified and experienced medical teams, which are competent enough to provide highly specialized care to medical tourists from across the world. With Indian hospitals increasingly appreciating the opportunity of treating medical tourists from abroad, they are constantly augmenting the standard of their healthcare services.
Chemotherapy in Mexico:
Mexico is the closest country to the United States which provides international quality medical care services at considerably lower prices, to patients from the United States. Mexico has several JCI approved hospitals, which provide acceptably good quality of care to American patients.
Chemotherapy in Turkey:
Turkey is referred to as the medical care hub of the Middle East. It has a strong healthcare infrastructure, which provides several treatment options at less than half the cost as compared to the United States.
Chemotherapy in Jordan:
With more and more medical tourists preferring Jordan for medical care services, the country has gained an edge over other medical tourism destinations over the past few years.
Chemotherapy in South Korea:
South Korea, with its technological innovations, has focused extensively on providing high quality of medical oncology services to medical tourists. The country offers its medical tourists an advantage in terms of costs, which is very significant, when compared to the other destinations of medical tourism.
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Medical Tourism Corporation facilitates affordable chemotherapy treatment in Europe (Turkey) and other overseas world-class oncology treatment destinations.