At Arkansas Cancer Institute, our goal is to diagnose cancer as early as possible to improve the chances of curing it. Our medical oncologists use advanced diagnostic tests to detect cancer and develop a treatment plan that addresses your unique needs.
Chemotherapy is a type of treatment that uses powerful drugs to stop or slow the growth of rapidly expanding, malignant cancer cells. It is one of the most prescribed therapies for many types of cancer. With recent advances in chemotherapy treatment, cancer is more beatable than ever before. Treatments today improve quality of life, longevity, remission rates, and cure rates.
Depending on the type and stage of cancer and its location in the body, chemotherapy may be used alone or with surgery, radiation therapy, or both. If a cure is not possible, chemotherapy may be used to relieve the symptoms of cancer.
Chemotherapy medications target and destroy cancer cells in the body. Cancer cells quickly divide and are unable to repair themselves or replicate after exposure to chemotherapy. However, healthy cells in the digestive tract, hair and blood also divide quickly and are affected by chemotherapy. This results in side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, hair loss and anemia.
The type of chemotherapy you receive depends on the type and extent of your cancer. One or a combination of chemotherapy medications may be used. Chemotherapy may be received orally, intravenously, intramuscularly, or directly into the spinal fluid. Chemotherapy may be swallowed in pill, capsule or liquid forms.
Chemotherapy is delivered in cycles over time to boost your immunity and allow your body time to respond, rest and build healthy cells. Dosage schedules vary and may consist of a few weeks to a year or more.
Chemotherapy affects some healthy cells as well as cancerous cells, resulting in side effects that may include nausea, hair loss, anemia, infections, appetite changes, bleeding problems, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, mouth and throat problems, blood clotting problems, pain, or fluid retention.
Our doctors and staff will let you know what possible side effects to expect from your particular treatment and may prescribe medications to counteract them or recommend relaxation techniques to help you through your treatment process. If your side effects are bothering you, or you are experiencing problems you did not expect, please tell any member of your chemotherapy team.
The experience of cancer and cancer treatments can be very emotional for you and your loved ones. It is important to embrace positive sources of support. Some people find comfort in their families, friends, co-workers, counselors, and faith.
Cancer support groups are a helpful resource where you can receive support, information and understanding from people with similar experiences. Our medical oncology nurses are an excellent resource for patient education and will also provide a great deal of support for you. Other recommended resources can be found on the “Cancer Resources” tab above.
For more information about chemotherapy in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, or to request an appointment with our medical oncologists, call Arkansas Cancer Institute at (870) 535-2800.
© 2017 Arkansas Cancer Institute