Millions of individuals worldwide are impacted by the complex illness known as cancer. It develops as a result of aberrant cells’ unchecked development, which has the potential to invade and damage nearby healthy tissues. Chemotherapy is one of the most popular and successful cancer treatment modalities that has seen tremendous developments. Chemotherapy uses strong medications to find and kill cancer cells.
What Is Chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy is a systemic therapy used to eliminate cancer cells from the body as a whole. It varies from localized therapies like surgery or radiation therapy that target certain tumor locations. Chemotherapy is frequently used with other cancer treatments to boost efficacy and lower the risk of recurrence.
What Do Chemotherapy Medicines Do, and How Do They Work?
There are numerous chemotherapy medications available, each of which is intended to target particular cancer cell types and cancerous stages. Depending on their modes of action, these medications can be divided into several groups:
- Alkylating agents: Alkylating agents harm cancer cells’ DNA, stopping them from proliferating and expanding. Carboplatin is one frequently used alkylating agent. Carboplatin, which is given as a 450mg injectable, works especially well against ovarian, lung, head, and neck malignancies. Carboplatin 450mg injection is typically used to treat ovarian cancer but is also beneficial in treating lung, head, and neck malignancies. Its mechanism of action involves inducing apoptosis, which is programmed cell death, and inhibiting cell division by damaging the DNA of cancer cells. Additionally, it disrupts the processes of transcription and replication within these cells.
- Antimetabolites: These medications imitate vital chemicals found in cancer cells, preventing them from synthesizing DNA and RNA and ultimately causing cell death. Antimetabolites include, for instance, methotrexate and fluorouracil (5-FU).
- Anthracyclines: Anthracyclines disrupt the DNA replication-related enzymes, causing DNA damage and cell death. Doxorubicin is a well-known anthracycline for treating leukemia, lymphomas, and breast cancer.
- Topoisomerase Inhibitors: By inhibiting the enzymes that assist separate DNA strands during cell division, topoisomerase inhibitors kill cancer cells that divide quickly. Topotecan and Etoposide are a couple of examples.
- Mitotic Inhibitors: By disrupting the mitotic spindle, these medications inhibit appropriate cell division. Mitotic inhibitors are frequently used medicines like vinblastine and paclitaxel.
- Hormone therapy: It is used to treat tumors, including breast and prostate cancer, that are susceptible to hormones. Medicines like Tamoxifen and Letrozole disrupt hormone receptors, preventing the spread of cancer.
- Targeted Therapy: By focusing on the distinct characteristics of cancer cells, targeted therapies minimize harm to healthy cells. Examples are imatinib for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and trastuzumab (Herceptin) for breast cancer that is HER2-positive.
Administration of Chemotherapy
Various ways can be used to give chemotherapy medications based on the type and stage of the cancer as well as the patient’s general health:
- The most popular type of chemotherapy, intravenous (IV) therapy, involves injecting a bolus of medication or a slow infusion straight into a vein.
- Some chemotherapy medications are available as pills or liquids that can be ingested. The patient can be more flexible and at their leisure with this approach.
- Some chemotherapy medications are injected into the muscle or beneath the skin.
- Intrathecal chemotherapy is used mostly to treat tumors that have progressed to the central nervous system and involve injecting chemotherapy medications directly into the cerebrospinal fluid.
Combination Therapy In Cancer Chemotherapy
In chemotherapy, a frequent strategy is called combination therapy, in which two or more medications with various modes of action are combined. This method lessens the possibility of medication resistance while assisting in the more efficient destruction of cancer cells. Traditional chemotherapy medications, targeted treatments, and immunotherapy may all be used in some chemotherapy regimens.
Side Effects of Chemotherapy Medicines
Chemotherapy medications can harm healthy and cancer cells, resulting in several side effects. The particular medicine or medicine combination taken, the dosage, and the person’s general health all influence the degree and kind of side effects. Several frequent adverse effects include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Hair loss
- Bone marrow suppression
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Long-term effects (such as heart and lung problems)
- fertility issues
- increased risk of developing secondary cancers
Embracing Strength, Inspiring Resilience: Uniting Hearts in the Fight Against Cancer
Chemotherapy is still an essential component of cancer care, helping to kill cancer cells and prolong patients’ lives. Oncologists can more precisely target particular malignancies with treatment regimens tailored to them using a variety of chemotherapeutic medicines and combination therapies. Nevertheless, it is critical to control the side effects of chemotherapy medications and provide patients with supportive care throughout their treatment. Oncology promises even more tailored and individualized therapies as medical science advances.
MrMed is India’s largest online pharmacy for chemotherapy medicines with a vision of creating a patient centric, technology enabled business. MrMed goes beyond the call of a pharma marketplace by providing several patient centric services including enrolment and adherence to patient assistance programs. MrMed mobile app is available for Android and iOS platforms, making it easier for patients to buy cancer medicines at their fingertips.