Chemotherapy: What You Need to Know

Generally, chemotherapy is used to treat certain diseases using specific chemicals to destroy malignant cells or sources of diseases such as bacteria or viruses.

Commonly associated with the treatment of cancer, chemotherapy can be divided into two – cancer chemotherapy and antimicrobial chemotherapy.

Cancer Chemotherapy.

Cancer chemotherapy involves the use of one or more cytotoxic agents to treat cancer.

Whether chemotherapy is done as part of your treatment is dependent on how big it is and how far it has spread, chemotherapy is done on people with cancer for a multitude of purposes with different outcome goals.

Curing cancer without other treatments.

Chemotherapy can be used as the primary or sole treatment of cancer if your type of cancer is sensitive to it.

Done post-treatment, to kill hidden cancer cells.

Known as adjuvant therapy, chemotherapy can be used after other treatments such as surgery or radiotherapy to kill remaining cancer cells and stop it from coming back.

Preparing you for other treatments.

Chemotherapy can be used to shrink tumours to ensure less surgery and shrink cancer for a smaller area of radiotherapy. This is known as neoadjuvant therapy.

Easing signs and symptoms.

Palliative chemotherapy helps shrink cancer, improve or eliminates cancer symptoms to help you live longer.

How Is Chemotherapy Performed?

As a treatment that many cancer patients go through, Consultant Radiotherapist & Oncologist Dr. Shum Weng Yon says that chemotherapy involves the administering of one or more anti-cancer drugs.

To help you understand more of the process that you will go through when seeking chemotherapy, here are some steps that will give you an idea of how it is performed.

  1. You will meet the nurse or other healthcare professional who will oversee your chemotherapy.
  2. You will subsequently undergo a brief physical examination to check your vital signs, e.g. blood pressure, pulse, respiration rate and temperature.
  3. Your height and weight will be measured to calculate the appropriate dosage of chemotherapy to be given.
  4. An intravenous (IV) catheter (slender tube) will be inserted into a vein in your arm.
  5. A blood sample will be taken.
  6. Lastly, you will meet with your oncologist who would have ordered the chemotherapy in the first place, assess your condition before each treatment, and review the results of your bio tests.

Should you have any arising enquiries, our cancer navigator nurses will be available to provide you with the assistance you need.