How Chemotherapy Works

How Chemotherapy Works

The word chemotherapy can actually refer to the use of any sort of drug (aspirin, penicillin, etc.) to treat a certain disease, but most people know it as a drug used for cancer treatment. You may also hear people refer to it as “chemo”, antineoplastic (meaning anti-cancer) therapy and cytotoxic (cell-killing) therapy.

How does chemotherapy work?

As our damaged body cells begin to die, our body produces new ones to replace them in a very orderly and balanced way. For those who have cancer, however, their cell reproduction spirals out of control. The cancerous cells begin to multiply and occupy more and more space until all the useful cells are overpowered. The chemotherapy is then used to interfere with the cancer cells’ ability to divide and reproduce. The chemo can be either applied directly to the specific cancer site or delivered through the bloodstream to attack cancer cells throughout the body.

How long will it last?

For the best results, chemo usually lasts for a specific period. The doctors will formulate a protocol plan—which specifies when treatment sessions will occur and for how long. A course of chemo can be one day or a few weeks, it depends on the type and stage of cancer (how advanced it is). Consistency is extremely important with this sort of therapy.