Chemotherapy drugs are designed to destroy cancer cells by affecting DNA synthesis or function. They are categorized according to their effect upon the cell cycle and cell chemistry.
Chemotherapy drugs vary in the way they are administered and may be given Intravenously, Intramuscular or Orally, but the route is drug specific.
Chemotherapy may be given intermittently over a short time and repeated every few weeks, continuously around the clock via a pump or cyclically (continuously for a week and then stopped for several weeks, then repeated).
Chemotherapy is usually given in the Oncologist’s office or outpatient infusion center. Most long term or continuous therapies are administered at home.
Common Diagnoses for Chemotherapy:
- Carcinomas of the Breast, Colon, Lung, Prostate, Gastrointestinal Tract, Head and Neck and other areas.
- Primary Immunoglobulin Deficiencies – A chronic disease in which the patient has a severe deficiency of immunoglobulins. The patient typically has recurrent infections and an inability to fight off infections.
- Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura – An autoimmune disorder.
- Guillain-Barre Syndrome (Also known as Acute Idiopathic Polyneuropathy) – This syndrome sometimes follows an infective illness, Usually weakness in the legs, arms or one or both sides of the face. The muscles of respiration may also be involved.
- Leukemia (Acute / Chronic).
- Lymphomas (Hodgkin’s / Non-Hodgkin’s).
- Sarcomas – Cancer arising from underlying tissue: muscle, bone and other connective tissue.
Supportive Therapies for oncology patients:
- Anemia therapy – Erythropoietin growth factors
- Anti-emetics (for nausea / vomiting)
- Anti-infectives / Anti-fungals
- Catheter Care
- Growth Cell Stimulating Factors – Neulasta, Neupogen
- Hydration (to replace fluids if patient has severe vomiting)