Chemotherapy: Advantages and Disadvantages

Cancer is caused when affected or cancerous cells start to multiply rapidly through cell division, causing the disease to spread quickly through the entire body. Today there are several treatment procedures that may help treat cancer, such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, or even surgery. Of these, chemotherapy is one of the most common treatment methods to treat cancer by killing the cells, shrinking the tumor, or relieving symptoms. But like most treatments, it comes with its advantages and disadvantages. If you or someone you know is battling cancer with chemotherapy treatment, it’s important to understand all the advantages and disadvantages, so that you can be prepared for what to expect before, during, and after chemotherapy treatment.

Advantages of chemotherapy treatment

Surely the most obvious advantage of chemotherapy is that kills cancerous cells. But to give you a more little background, below are the three things that can be achieved by administering chemo:

  1. Cure – With reference to curing cancer, chemotherapy drugs are given to a patient to kill cells or attack a tumor with the aim to destroy it completely.
  2. Control – When speaking of using chemotherapy to control cancer it means using medication to prevent the cancerous cells from spreading and reaching other organs or parts of the body.
  3. Palliation – In advanced stage cancer cases that may be beyond control, chemotherapy may even be used simply to reduce symptoms of cancer such as pain and help the sufferer feel healthier to improve the quality of life.

Disadvantages of chemotherapy treatment

  • Hair loss

Hair loss or hair alopecia is one of the most common side effects of chemotherapy. Within a couple of sessions, the patient may experience extreme hair thinning and hair fall.

  • Weakened immune system

Unlike targeted therapy and radiation, chemotherapy affects the entire body. The chemical drugs that are meant to kill cancerous cells also tend to destroy healthy cells, leading to a compromised immune system.

  • Fatigue and weakness

Chemo drugs may cause anemia or low red blood cells count, which in turn can make the patient feel tired and exhausted with even the slightest physical activity.

  • Reduced appetite

Cancer patients undergoing chemo often experience loss of appetite due to a compromised metabolism, and consequent weight loss.

  • Nausea and vomiting

Due to the aggressive effects of some drugs that may even damage the lining of the stomach, patients tend to feel nauseous and may even get diarrhea.

  • Financial distress

Financial distress is one of the most ignored disadvantages of chemotherapy treatment. A single session of chemotherapy is likely to cost anything between Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000, and most cases may require multiple such sessions. A few cycles of chemo treatment along with medical test and doctors fees may run into several lakhs.

For many cancer sufferers in India, paying for chemo is nearly impossible – but forgoing treatment is even worse. In times of dire financial distress, medical crowdfunding may come as a blessing. By starting a medical fundraiser on an online crowdfunding india platform, one can raise funds for cancer treatment through a donations based system. If you or a loved one are in need of financial assistance for medical treatment, start a crowdfunding campaign on Impact Guru today!

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