People suffering from any type of cancer are often treated with chemotherapy that comprises anti cancer drugs. Chemotherapy can be provided along with other drugs as a curative intent or might be used shrink the size of a malignant tumor and be considered as palliative chemotherapy. Apart from surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, this is one of the significant methods of dealing with cancer.
The various methods by which chemotherapeutic drugs are used for cancer patients are:
- Induction chemotherapy – Used for curative intent, this is a common method of treatment for cancerous tumors which is given along with other medicated drugs.
- Combined modality – This combines the usage of drugs with other cancer treatment approaches like surgery, radiation therapy.
- Consolidation chemotherapy – This is given to a patient to initiate a complete recovery along with extending the disease-free span.
- Intensification chemotherapy – Similar to the consolidation therapy, this chemotherapy makes usage of a different drug.
- Combination chemotherapy makes usage of a variety of drugs simultaneously and is used in low amounts to minimize the side effects.
- Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is injected before the operation and helps in minimizing the size of the tumor.
- Adjuvant chemotherapy – This is given to the patient after the surgery or radiotherapy and helps in killing the malignant cells that has spread to the other parts of the body.
Two common methods of chemotherapy treatment prevail. According to the type of cancer and the patient’s condition, the approach is decided by the oncologist.
- Oral chemotherapy – This is primarily in the form of a tablet or liquid and acts as a disease resistance drug. The patient can remain in home and undergo this type of chemotherapy treatment. A regular checkup with the doctor is advised.
- Intravenous chemotherapy – This drug is infused into the patient’s system with the help of an infusion “pump” that is channelized into the person’s system through a vein or catheter. A chemotherapy treatment rendered for months is known as continuous infusion.
Depending on the condition of the patient and the growth of cancer, the dosage of chemotherapy is decided by the doctor. This therapy helps in preventing the cancer cells from splitting and spreading to other parts of the body. It can either be orally taken or through portable pumps can be infused into the blood as this gets absorbed easily through the blood stream.
While undergoing chemotherapy, a cancer patient should keep certain beneficial health aspects in mind. These comprise:
- Chemotherapy can cause damage to even the normal healthy cells.
- It generally affects the digestive tract causing inflammation in its lining causing mucositis, the hair follicles causing loss of hair (alopecia) and decreases the blood cells count.
- Infections like sepsis or localized outbreaks are a common occurrence, thus patients are advised to follow certain infection reduction methods.
- Sometimes, chemotherapy treatment might get postponed due to the low immunity in certain patients.
- Nausea, sickness, fatigue, constipation, dehydration are common symptoms, thus necessary medications should be taken. Drinking clear liquids is advisable during the treatment span.
- In certain patients chemotherapy can also cause infertility.
In chemotherapy, the dormant cancer cells sometimes don’t get affected thus there lies a risk of recurrence of the disease. Also, as it reduces the white blood cell count in the body, patients are often skeptical in undergoing this treatment. However, findings report that 60% of the patients suffering from stage 1 cancer has been able to extend their survival span upto 7 years with the help of chemo. Fatality chances persist but doctors’ claim that the success rate of chemo depend upon the spread of the cancer in the patient’s body.
The treatment cost is quite expensive, although in India it is available at an affordable rate. The price in India amounts to one tenth when compared with the amount needed in other developed countries like US, Europe. Cost however depends largely on the type of drugs being used in chemotherapy along with its frequency.
Cost is USD 500 per cycle
India has a number of hospitals catering to the needs of the cancer patients.
- Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai
- Apollo Cancer Institute, Chennai
- Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon
- Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai
- Global Health City, Chennai
- Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi
- BLK Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi.
- Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon
- Dharamshila Cancer Hospital, New Delhi
- Medanta-The Medicity, Gurgaon
- Columbia Asia, Yeshwantpur
Some of the proficient oncologists of India rendering chemotherapy are:
- Suresh Advani (Jaslok Hospital, Mumbai)
- Vinod Raina (Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon)
- SVSS Prasad (Apollo Health City, Jubilee Hospitals)
- Ashok Vaid ( Medanta- The Medicity, Gurgaon )
- P.P Bapsy ( Apollo Hospitals, Banerghatta Road)
- Niti R Narang ( Fortis Hospital, Banerghatta Road)
- B V Lawrence ( Fortis Malar Hospital, Chennai)
- Boman Dhanbar ( Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai)
A patient suffering from lung cancer narrates :
“I used to have a nagging pain in my pelvic region for a year or so. Then one day I started to get abnormal vaginal discharge. I also had a drastic weight loss. On visiting a doctor and undergoing a screening test, I was detected with Stage II, cervical cancer. From MedTour2India, I got to know about Tata Medical Centre, Kolkata and decided to get my treatment done there. After going through my condition the oncologist suggested radiation and chemo therapy for me after intervals. My treatment continued for 4 months. While taking chemotherapy I often used to vomit and had to be on a low diet. Medications were prescribed and I was under strict supervision. Gradually after the end of the treatment, I was cancer free and my health too improved. No physical difficulty arose after that. I am thankful to MedTour2India for recommending me to the hospital. Lastly, without the help of my oncologist and the entire medical staff of the hospital my recovery would have been impossible. My overall experience with the hospital has really been good”
Another patient from Zambia says :
“I often had this burning sensation in my stomach and faced an appetite loss. On getting myself examined, I was shocked to know that I had stomach cancer. My health was deteriorating and I couldn’t waste much time. My wife looked up in the internet and came across MedTour2India who helped us immensely through my treatment process. They suggested us with a treatment in India where in an affordable budget my recovery would be possible. I soon did my own findings and came down to India for my treatment. After getting myself admitted, my doctor started chemotherapy on me. Initially I did face some health problems like nausea and fever. Eventually I recovered and my health showed a remarkable change. I am extremely satisfied with the treatment I received at the hospital and would like to recommend any cancer patient to get their treatment done here. My oncologist was really helpful and I am grateful to MedTour2India also for their cooperation.”