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Colon Cancer

What If I Need Chemotherapy?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 18:31

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Chemotherapy is the planned, periodic administration of a special drug or a combination of drugs that destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be given:

  • Orally, in pill form
  • By intravenous (IV) infusion, meaning by direct injection into a vein. The drug enters the bloodstream rapidly and circulates throughout the body.
  • Through a catheter or thin tube is inserted into a vein. The drug enters the bloodstream constantly over a period of days or weeks.

Nice To Know:

Chemotherapy is called a "systemic treatment." The drug enters the bloodstream and travels throughout the body. In this way, chemotherapy destroys cancer cells that have traveled outside of the colon.

Chemotherapy destroys rapidly dividing cancer cells but also damages some healthy cells, including:

  • the roots of the hair
  • the lining of the intestine
  • bone marrow

There may be some temporary hair loss, which is usually not as severe is in chemotherapy for other forms of cancer. There may also be digestive upset and discomfort as well as a feeling of great fatigue.

Nice To Know:

Researchers are constantly trying to find new types of drugs that destroy cancer cells while leaving other healthy cells alone. These will improve or ease the side effects of chemotherapy caused by the destruction of healthy, rapidly growing cells.

 

Colon Cancer