CHEMOTHERAPY In India-AN EFFECTIVE TREATMENT FOR CANCER
Chemotherapy in India, is the process used for removal or killing or slowing down of the growth or stopping the division of cancer cells, is done by the use of cytotoxics drugs. These drugs prevent the growth and replication of the cancer cells and are used to treat cancer.
These drugs can be directly targeted to the affected area/s or delivered into the blood called the intravenous treatment. Further, they help in stopping the supply of food source, i.e., hormones and enzymes, to the cancer cells. They also trigger the cancer cells for suicide which in medical terms known as Apoptosis. Lastly, they prevents the growth of the new blood vessels which are supplying the tumor thereby making the vessels to starve. The process depends upon the individual and the stage of cancer a person is having.
Need for Chemotherapy in India
The need for Chemotherapy in India depends upon various factors such as the stage, location at which the cancer is, the size, the spread, type of the cancer or any one of them. Not every treatment for cancer requires this process. Approximately, half of the cancers can be cured without the use of this chemotherapy treatment.Like, treatment with the use of radiation or surgery can cure cancer without the use of these drugs, whereas on the other hand, some cancers can only be cured with the help of chemotherapy in India. These drugs destroy the cells’ DNA which grows grown expeditiously.
Selection of Drugs
The drugs are administered by doctors and they have the sole authority to dictate their decision on the basis of following factors:
- Health: this treatment is only given to the patient who can handle the effects of the drugs. The cost-benefit analysis is to be done before administrating the chemotherapy treatment.
- Previous Researches: doctors are expected to study the existing scientific data on the studies and trials before usage of the drugs. The safety trials are to be conducted before actually using the drugs.
- Rate of Responsiveness: before administration of the drugs, doctors are expected to see the responsiveness of that particular drug in curing the disease. These are to be evaluated keeping in mind the risks associated with the drugs.
There are majorly four categories for administration of chemotherapy drugs depending upon the various factors as discussed above. These are:
- Plant Alkaloids: this helps in blocking the growth and division of the cancer cells by reducing their ability. For eg. Mitomycin, doxorubicin and actinomycin D.
- Antitumor Antibiotics: this prevents the cancer cells from reproducing by stopping the RNA from synthesizing. For eg. Mitoxantrone and Bleomycin.
- Alkylating Agents: this directly attacks the cells and kills them at any of the stages of the cells’ life cycle. For eg. Thiotepa, Busulfan, Chlorambucil and Cyclophosphamide.
- Antimetabolites: this helps in stopping the supply of proteins to the cancer cells which are essential for it to survive. They actually mimic like proteins and offers no benefit on consumption by the cell. For eg. Purine Antagonists, Pyrimidine Antagonists and Folate Antagonists.
Side-Effects of chemotherapy in India
As every coin has 2 sides, the same goes with the chemotherapy treatment. It has some disadvantages as well along the line of advantages and the effects of these are likely to have an adverse effect on the whole body. Side effects of chemotherapy may vary and are generally temporary in nature. For example, they may be sometimes merely unpleasant and sometimes be serious in nature. Some develop with time, some show up instantly. Further side effect varies according to the type of drugs used in chemo. Common side-effects are Fatigue, Flu, Pain, Mouth, gum and throat sores, gastrointestinal problems, skin changes, weight changes, Alopecia, Anemia, etc. Some of which are explained below:
- Tiredness: the most common side effect is the exhaustion which is generally experienced after the treatment. In this, the most active person also feels exhausted. This is very normal and when the treatment gets over, the body is restored to its normal course and energy might return.
- Flu: Drinking plenty of liquid can help remove the excess amount of mucus. Some drugs of Chemo might cause headache, muscle pains, stomach pain or tingling in the hands and feet. One might also feel nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation or diarrhea. These drugs might also cause rashes, redness, or other skin diseases.
- Man’s Fertility: Some Chemotherapy drugs affect the fertility of a man. This infertility may be temporary or permanent. These drugs can reduce the number of sperms a person produce or affect the sperm’s ability to fertilize an egg. Using anti-oxidants, such as vitamin-C or other agents might protect the sperm.
- Alopecia: or hair loss might start with some type of chemotherapy. Though, there are no other physical health consequences. Nail becomes brittle and flaky. The skin becomes dry and oversensitive. These drugs might also cause hearing impairment which might be temporary or permanent. Immune system will be weakened because of the reason that white blood cells count goes down. Antibiotics help with the risk of developing infections.
- One might face Blood Clotting Low platelets count might cause bruises or bleeding problems. Also, the patients face the problems of anaemia due to low level of red blood cells. Inflammation in the mucous membrane can render effect on any part of the digestive system including mouth, stomach, intestine, etc. Chemotherapy in India affects the appetite of a patient leading to weight loss. Severity of the same depends on the type of chemotherapy treatment.
- One might face constipation and other Mental Health problems like short term memory loss, thinking, etc. It also affects the ability to reason, organize and to multitask.
- Affects Infants Health: Being diagnosed during pregnancy is rare. However, if somebody is diagnosed then conducting Chemotherapy during pregnancy might increase the defects in birth of the child. Chemotherapy in India may cause risk like the birth of a premature baby.