There is a good chance that you already have some idea of what chemotherapy entails. This method of cancer treatment began to be used in the 1950s, becoming more and more common in the proceeding decades.
There is a reason for its continued widespread use. Chemotherapy, which has developed and evolved through its decades of utilization, is a very effective method of treating many types of cancer across a wide range of patients.
Essentially, chemotherapy is a drug treatment that kills cancer cells in the body. There are a variety of different chemotherapy drugs available, and the treatment can be used on its own or in conjunction with other forms of cancer therapy such as radiation and surgery.
Modern chemotherapy modes consider myriad factors. And the adoption of using multiple chemotherapy drugs (known as combination chemotherapy), over single agents, continued the evolution of its effectiveness as a treatment in many cases. In fact, many cancers (especially those associated with bone marrow and lymph nodes) can be cured by combination chemotherapy.
Meanwhile, the widespread knowledge that has come through years of scientific testing and trials across the globe has also led to a better treatment experience. And this knowledge continues to evolve on a yearly basis, making chemotherapy both more effective and less difficult on the patient.
And yet the chemotherapy experience is not simply about the chemicals used. It is also about treating the patient as a person and making them as comfortable and informed as possible.
By offering semi-private suites complete with recliners and personal televisions, as well as free Wi-Fi access, Longstreet Cancer Center’s state-of-the-art chemotherapy infusion suite is designed for comfort. And Longstreet caregivers are always careful to ensure that all patients understand the chemotherapy process and what that means both in the short and long term for their wellbeing.
How to Prepare for Chemotherapy
Before beginning a chemotherapy regimen, your doctor will provide you with a list of specific instructions detailing what you need to do before beginning treatment. Depending on how the chemotherapy drugs are administered, you may need to:
- Make sure you are healthy enough for the treatment. Before undergoing chemotherapy, your doctor will order blood tests or other tests to assess the health of your liver, kidneys, and heart.
- Visit your dentist. In an attempt to reduce the risk of complications before treatment, your doctor may recommend that a dentist check your teeth for any signs of infection.
- Make arrangements for post-treatment help. While chemotherapy often is given in an outpatient facility, allowing you to maintain your daily routine, it is a good idea to schedule a few days off of work and to have someone at home to help you after your first round of treatment. Chemotherapy affects each person differently, so having a few days off and someone around to help is a good way to address how your body responds to treatment.
What to Expect
Each person’s experience with chemotherapy is unique, and as a result it is difficult to know exactly what your course of treatment and side effects will be. As you discuss treatment options with your doctor, he will determine:
- What type of chemotherapy drugs are best for your particular case
- The manner in which those drugs are administered
- How often you will receive treatments
- Where you will go for treatment
At Longstreet Cancer Center, we understand that determining the best course of treatment is crucial in successfully treating all forms of cancer. Our oncologists bring with them many years of experience in treating a wide variety of cancers with the most advanced forms of chemotherapy.
In addition to our experience, we have an onsite chemotherapy infusion suite so that your treatments are always administered close to home in the most comfortable environment possible.
Because patients and family members can feel overwhelmed when beginning chemotherapy, we are pleased to offer an Introduction to Chemotherapy class every Tuesday (4 p.m.) and Thursday (9 a.m.). During this class, patients and family members will receive useful information to help prepare them for treatment. For more information, call 770-297-5700 or toll free at 866-833-9029.