Chemotherapy is the use of cystostatic drugs to destroy cancerous cells or slow down their growth. It is also used to reduce the symptoms linked to the disease, but produces additional side effects when administered.
The use of certain drugs can influence the effect of chemotherapy. It is therefore important to specify to the oncologist all of the medication you are taking, even if it is “only” aspirin, dietary supplements or vitamins. It is also important to inform the other care providers, such as your dentist or other therapist, that you are undergoing chemotherapy. In this way, they will be able to take this into account when treating you.
In practical terms
A course of chemotherapy treatment is generally administered by injection into a vein. There are other methods of administration: by oral route, or by subcutaneous, intramuscular or intra-thecal injection.
Based on the type of chemotherapy and your venous resources, a small injection chamber can be placed under the skin and connected to a deep vein or a central vein. This is called “Port-A-Cath”.
This facilitates repeated intravenous injections of chemotherapy agents, especially if your venous system is difficult to detect and not easily accessible. This injection chamber is fitted in the operating theatre by a surgeon.
This operation will be discussed between the patient, the physician and the nurse who will be administering the chemotherapy. The small chamber must be regularly rinsed in saline solution at the end of the treatment, to prevent it from clogging.
The side effects are directly linked to the type of drugs administered, the doses for these drugs and their combinations, the length of the treatment and your general state of health.