Monday, April 12, 2010

Goals of chemotherapy

Your healthcare team will tell you why chemotherapy is a treatment option for you. A medical oncologist will explain your treatment plan. The chemotherapy can pursue the following objectives:

Destruction of Cancer
Chemotherapy, used alone or in combination with other treatments designed to destroy cancer cells in the body. Many types of cancer can be treated with a combination of chemotherapy drugs (combination chemotherapy).
Shrink a tumor before other treatments
Chemotherapy is sometimes used to shrink a tumor before surgery or radiotherapy (neoadjuvant chemotherapy).
Destruction of cancer cells after other treatments
Chemotherapy is often used in addition to surgery or radiation to destroy cancer cells that have escaped the scalpel or X-rays (adjuvant chemotherapy).
Preparation for bone marrow or stem cell
Some types of cancer can be treated by bone marrow or stem cells. High doses of chemotherapy drugs are used to destroy existing bone marrow before it is replaced by stem cells or bone marrow from a donor (ablative chemotherapy).
Relief of symptoms caused by cancer
Chemotherapy may be used to alleviate pain and other symptoms caused by cancer (palliative chemotherapy).

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