Chemotherapy & Immunotherapy: Treating cancer and possible side effects

One dangerous ailment that is fast becoming common and affecting men, women, and children, of all ages, across the globe is cancer. If the person feels any type of symptom of this disease or has a genetic history, then it will be wise to consult the physician without any delay and undergo some vital screenings. If detected, the physician may recommend the patient to undergo chemotherapy to treat cancer. The patient or his/her family members probably may have lots of questions in mind pertaining to this treatment for which they should seek answers and remedies from the qualified and experienced doctors. It is equally important to undertake some research about chemotherapy and find out if there are any side effects associated with it and also about its effectiveness, and if there is any another alternative treatment present. What about immunotherapy? Such crucial questions should be asked without any hesitation with the doctor, so as to know in-depth about the available remedy and to safely get treatment for cancer. Knowing chemotherapy cost in India will also help to get cost-effective and good quality treatment. 

About chemotherapy

Usage of medicines or drugs for treating cancer is referred to as chemotherapy. Unlike radiation therapy or surgical treatments where cancer gets eliminated, damaged or destroyed at a particular place, chemo tends to work all over the body. It also is used for destroying the cancer cells which might have metastasized to the other body parts. This therapy finds great use to control and cure cancer or palliation. 

Some common side effects of chemotherapy treatment

Availing chemotherapy might cause some common side effects which include getting bruised easily and bleeding, hair loss, fatigue, infection, anaemia, vomiting, nausea, appetite changes, constipation, diarrhoea, problems emerging in the tongue, throat and mouth (like sores and pain while swallowing food or even saliva), constipation, changes in the skin and nail, urine and bladder changes, weight changes, kidney problems, fertility problems, mood changes, sexual function changes and libido. It is not necessary for the person to face all such side effects compulsorily. Probably, there may be potentially none or few experienced. The fact is that chemotherapy treatment tends to affect every person differently.

Immunotherapy

The human body immune system combats cancer naturally and is termed as immunotherapy. It is achieved in two ways, namely:

  • By providing the patient with immune system components such as man-made proteins. 
  • Stimulation of the immune system for attacking cancer cells or to more work harder. 

By providing immunotherapy, certain cancer types are treated effectively. At times, it is often the only prescribed treatment for a few patients, and in other cases, it is suggested along with other forms of treatments. The doctors may recommend immunotherapy to be given orally, as IV (intravenously), intravesically (directly within the bladder) or topically. The major forms of this therapy to treat cancer presently are given below:

  • Non-specific immunotherapies: Generally, they boost the body’s immune system and can help to combat cancer cells. 
  • Cancer vaccines: Substances, when introduced within the body, can initiate immune response. 
  • Immune checkpoint inhibitors: There are prescribed drugs which can ensure that the immune system is able to recognize as well as attack the cancer cells. 
  • Monoclonal antibodies: There are few man-made proteins which are designed to fight some parts of the cancer cells. 

The type of side effects experienced might depend upon the immunotherapy type that is given to the patient. Generally, few possible side effects may include flu-type symptoms (like vomiting, nausea, weakness, chills, fever, dizziness, muscle or joint aches, fatigue, headache, breathing trouble, low or high blood pressure), swelling, weight gained due to fluid retention, infection risks, heart palpitations, and sinus congestion. 

Gaining valuable knowledge

The chances of developing cancer depend upon several factors, of which lifestyle is considered to be one. The healthier the person is, the much stronger can be his/her cancer prevention. The other factor is genetics. If the person has a genetic predisposition, this might increase his/her chances to develop specific types of cancer. Availing useful information about cancer, the type of treatment available including the chemotherapy treatment cost in India can help to make the best choice towards eliminating the issue and lead a normal, happy disease-free life.

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