Role of Chemotherapy in Gynaecological Cancers
Following diagnosis, your team of doctors will work with you to create an effective and personalized treatment plan. Some conditions require chemotherapy, which means you take strong medications that destroy cancer cells throughout your body.
Benefits of Chemotherapy
You receive chemotherapy either by taking oral pills or through an IV that sends the medication directly into your bloodstream. Chemotherapy kills cancer cells to help your body get rid of cancer.
Chemotherapy Treatment Plan
A chemotherapy treatment plan will incorporate the following factors:
- What drug or drugs you take
- What dose you take
- How often you receive treatment
- Whether you receive treatment as an inpatient or in our outpatient clinic
- Any follow-up tests or treatments
How Is Chemotherapy Given?
The best way to get the medication to the cancer site depends on the type of cancer and the medication or medications used. Chemotherapy may be given by mouth (orally), injected into muscle (intramuscularly) or through a vein (intravenously). Most patients receive their medications through the intravenous route. Once in the blood, the anti-cancer medication is distributed by the bloodstream throughout the body.
One tome insertion of PICC Line or chemoport will save the patient from multiple pricks for cannula.
Is Chemotherapy Painful?
Taking anti-cancer medications usually does not cause pain. If you take them by mouth, it is the same as taking any other medicine in a liquid, capsule or table form. When the medicine is injected into a muscle, it feels very much like an ordinary injection. An intravenous (IV) injection usually feels like having a blood sample drawn for laboratory test. Some patients may experience a stinging feeling at the area of injection.
If the medication seeps out of the vein, you may experience pain. Under such circumstances, it is important to inform your nurse or doctor immediately. If left untreated, this may lead to permanent scarring and damage of the tissue around the intravenous site.
How Long Will The Treatment Last And How Often Do I Need To Come For Chemotherapy?
The duration and frequency of your chemotherapy is dependent on the kind of cancer you have, the type of medications used and how your body responds to them. Chemotherapy may be given daily, weekly or monthly. Often there are rest periods so that your body has a chance to build healthy new cells and recover. The planned schedule by your doctors may be adjusted as time goes by, to suit your individual responses and treatment needs. It is important to follow-up the appointments given by your doctor in order to get the best of chemotherapy.
Should I Avoid Other Medications?
It is important to consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication, such as aspirin, as they may interfere with the treatment or cause harmful side effects to your body. You should show your doctors all the medicines that you are currently taking. Sometimes, it may be necessary to prescribe an alternative drug for you.
Will Chemotherapy Interfere With My Daily Activities?
Some people may feel tired after chemotherapy and should cut down their activities and take more rest. It is also wise to avoid crowded places and people with contagious diseases during the period of treatment as your body’s defence system is weakened by the chemotherapy. However, most people will be able to carry on with their daily routine. Your doctors may even be able to adapt your chemotherapy schedule to fit in with your holiday plans. Be sure to inform and consult your doctor early if you wish to do so.
Common Chemotherapy Side Effects
Common chemotherapy side effects include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Losing hair
- Losing appetite
- Losing weight
- Stomach problems, including constipation and diarrhoea
Management of Chemotherapy Side Effects
Our Team’s goal is to prevent as many of these side effects as possible.
We prescribe anti-nausea and vomiting medication, and pain medication to manage side effects.
We are also very sensitive to the stress chemotherapy can have on your mental and psychological state. Dealing with cancer treatment challenges you and your family on issues from job security to finances to interpersonal relationships. As part of our multidisciplinary approach, we work with you to monitor and address these issues.
What Symptoms Must I Report To My Doctor?
- Fever over 38ºC especially with chills and rigors
- Persistent or severe vomiting for more than 24 hours
- Unusual bleeding or bruising such as nose bleeds, blood in urine or black tarry stools
- Shortness or difficulty in catching your breath
- Severe diarrhoea or constipation
- Persistent pain
- Any unexpected, unexplained problems