chemotherapy is used to destroy cancer cells

Under our care, SWGynOnc doctors and nurses will explain why chemotherapy is recommended for your diagnosis, what you can expect during chemotherapy treatments, and how to manage side effects for your overall well being.

Chemotherapy and You

“Chemotherapy and You” is a book written for you – someone who is about to receive or is now receiving chemotherapy for cancer. Your family, friends, and others close to you may also want to read this book.

This book is a guide you can refer to throughout your chemotherapy treatment. It includes facts about chemotherapy and its side effects and also highlights ways you can care for yourself before, during, and after treatment.

  • Side effects and ways to manage them. Explains side effects and other problems that may result from chemotherapy. This section also has ways that you and your doctor or nurse can manage these side effects.
  • Ways to learn more. Lists ways to get more information about chemotherapy and other topics discussed in this book – in print, online, and by telephone.
What is chemotherapy?

What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy (also called chemo) is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to destroy cancer cells.

How does chemotherapy work?

How does chemotherapy work?

Chemotherapy works by stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells, which grow and divide quickly. But it can also harm healthy cells that divide quickly, such as those that line your mouth and intestines or cause your hair to grow. Damage to healthy cells may cause side effects. Often, side effects get better or go away after chemotherapy is over.

What does chemotherapy do?

What does chemotherapy do?

Depending on your type of cancer and how advanced it is, chemotherapy can:

  • Cure cancer – when chemotherapy destroys cancer cells to the point that your doctor can no longer detect them in your body and they will not grow back.
  • Control cancer – when chemotherapy keeps cancer from spreading, slows its growth, or destroys cancer cells that have spread to other parts of your body.
  • Ease cancer symptoms (also called palliative care) – when chemotherapy shrinks tumors that are causing pain or pressure.
How is chemotherapy used?

How is chemotherapy used?

Sometimes, chemotherapy is used as the only cancer treatment. But more often, you will get chemotherapy along with surgery, radiation therapy, or biological therapy. Chemotherapy can:

  • Make a tumor smaller before surgery or radiation therapy. This is called neo-adjuvant chemotherapy.
  • Destroy cancer cells that may remain after surgery or radiation therapy. This is called adjuvant chemotherapy.
  • Help radiation therapy and biological therapy work better.
  • Destroy cancer cells that have come back (recurrent cancer) or spread to other parts of your body (metastatic cancer).
What are targeted agents?

What are targeted agents?

Targeted cancer therapies are drugs or other substances that block the growth and spread of cancer by interfering with specific molecules involved in tumor growth and progression.

Because scientists call these specific molecules “molecular targets,” therapies that interfere with them are sometimes called “molecularly targeted drugs,” “molecularly targeted therapies,” or other similar names.

Targeted cancer therapies that have been approved for use in specific cancers include drugs that interfere with cell growth signaling or tumor blood vessel development, promote the specific death of cancer cells, stimulate the immune system to destroy specific cancer cells, and deliver toxic drugs to cancer cells.

These agents work via blockage of specific receptors involved in cell growth. They are often used in combination with standard chemotherapy agents to enhance their effectiveness, or as part of an ongoing clinical trial.

Click here for SWGynOnc clinical trials

Click here to read the article: “Advanced ovarian cancer: what should be the standard of care?” by Barbara A. Goff  in the Journal of Gynecological Oncology, January 8, 2013.