Patient discussion about chemotherapy

!!! The questions and answers on this page are written by patients and are not reviewed by health professionals.

Q. what are the side affects of chemotherapy?

A1And one more thing - this list of side effects may sound frightening, but eventually these drugs are given because they were found to eventually giving the patients better life than when they were left untreated, so in most of the cases, it's worth it.
A2Well, the answer above was informative although a bit extreme. There are many kinds of chemotherapy, and the side effects depend both on the type and the dose of chemotherapy. They may include hair loss, ulcers of the mouth, nausea (which has quite effective treatment), diarrhea and the most problematic: damage to the blood-cells producing tissue in the bone marrow that may lead to infection.

Other side effects may occur only months or years later, but are usually type-specific.

It's a vast subject, so you may ask about specific drug or read more here:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/cancerchemotherapy.html
A3chemotherapy is injecting poison to the body that destroys all dividing cells at the moment. because cancerous cells usually multiplying very fast- they are harmed more then rest of the body. but you lose a fare share of your healthy cells..which cause horrendous side effects. here is a link to a video talking about it:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/chemotherapy/CA00089

Q. How do doctors know what chemo meds to prescribe?

Do they take a piece of the cancer tumor and lab it to see what chemo drugs kill that specific cancer tumor cells. Or do they randomly figure these meds should respond to these cells? I understand that the doctors put a patient through killing all cells which may be better.
AIt all comes down to a "hit or miss" if one chemo type doesn't work then they try another, or combinations. From experience and testing they basically know which type of chemo works on an overall average for a certain cancer type.
Although many can get one type of cancer, each reacts differently in each individual depending on their immune system, age, and lifestyle. so each chemo also reacts different in people.

Q. Getting prepared for chemo

Hi, I have breast cancer, and I’m planned to start chemotherapy in a short time. Do you have any advice how should I prepare for it? What to buy? The anti-emesis drugs are already waiting- any other thing I should get?
A1A surgical face mask – if you find yourself in a close place and someone starts to cough or sneeze, you can protect yourself.
A2Maybe try to buy some kerchief or a hat, or if you think it’ll be comfortable try a wig. Also, if you want to have some guests, this is the time…
A3Hmm…. A good toothbrush, a brush for the tongue,, and keep a very good mouth hygiene (the chemo may cause wounds in the mouth). Other than that, when you’ll feel anything, you can come and ask. Good luck!

Q. Acupuncture during chemo - any experience?

My friend receives chemo for breast cancer, and it makes her quite nauseus. Doctor offered her to take drugs against the nausea, but I thought she can try natural thing before she put another toxic thing in her body. Does anyone have an experience with this? Does it help?
A1It’s very personal. Some people say it helped them very much, and some say it helped only their therapist bank account. You can try it and see if it helps. Just make sure to consult your doctor, because it may be dangerous to do acupuncture during chemo.
A2I don't have any presonal experience with this, however I found an article on this topic that might give you some info:
http://ict.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/5/4/308

Q. Wigs after chemotherapy – where do I start?

I ‘m 55 years old woman, and was diagnosed with colon cancer. After the operation (that went well, thankfully), I’m going to start chemotherapy soon. I was told that there’s a good chance I’ll loss my hair. I know it may sound captious, but my hair is very important for me. I was told a wig is a useful option. Does anyone have any tips?
A1Before you buy a wig, you should think if it’ll be comfortable for you. If you live in a hot and humid place, you may find wig very uncomfortable, especially as some kinds of chemo make the skin very sensitive.
A2I had hair loss due to another illness but found a new life with wigs and great hats! I had the opportunity to be anyone I wanted to be! A great wig can be found online at a big wig web site. I have dozens and enjoy all they offer! If you loose your hair, it will come back, but take advantage of all the fun wigs available! Laugh with your friends and they will laugh with you, not at you! You are in control of this part of your experience, blessings!
A3one more thing I wanted to say- Go crazy with wigs! Change colors- go short or long. Make it an opportunity to re-invent your look. or go bald and wear huge earrings! Be shocking! Shake things up with a new look.
Good luck, I will pray for you

Q. my mom is going to start chemo next week will she lose all her hair for sure?

ANo. The reported chances of losing hair due to chemotherapy range between 10 and 100 percents - it depends on the type, dose, frequency and administration route of the chemotherapy given to the patient. The speed of losing the hair also varies: it can happen very quickly (as after bone marrow transplantation) or over several weeks.

You may read more here:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hair-loss/CA00037

Q. Is chemotherapy the only treatment for breast cancer?

They found a lump and took a biopsy, and now they want to do chemotherapy and a surgery, are there any other ways of treatments that not include injecting poison into my body?
A1Hope I'm not too late to answer your question. Chemo is NOT the only treatment for breast cancer (depending on the type you have.)\\

My sister-in-law was diagnosed last April with Stage 4 (two types of cancer). She had surgery to remove a microscopic tumor and 14 lymphnotes. She was told that the cancer was in her bones and in the beginning stages in her spine.
She has NOT had any chemo or radiation.
My suggestion is to contact Dr. Edith Perez at the Mayo Clinic in Florida. Between Dr. Perez and my sister-in-laws doctor where she is being treated in NJ she is very close to remission. Todate she is doing very well. She now goes every three months for zumeta treatments and takes other medication every day.

If you haven't read The Secret, buy the book and read it. It, among many others, has helped her tremendously.

Good luck and God bless.
A2One day people will look back on how we treat cancer and say “my god! How barbaric!” it’ll look to them like the days before antibiotics to us.
But until then, chemotherapy is the best chance of killing cancerous cells. With many of healthy ones, but still.
A3I do not beleive so. Of course it depends on your age. I had BC 7 years ago. My surgical oncologist is Dr. Dooley @ OU breast center. He told me about the alternative to chimo last December on my yearly visit. BTW so far i am ok.
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