Chemotherapy and Radiation – Pros and Cons
In addition to surgical procedures,
chemotherapy and radiation are the most commonly used forms of treatment for cancer. We will focus on the pros and cons of chemotherapy vs. radiation.
is a type of cancer treatment which administers powerful anti-cancer drugs into the body. These drugs have been specially designed to detect cancer cells and kill
them. It normally does so by reacting to cells which exhibit
unusually fast growth rates and then disrupt these processes so that the cells eventually die.
over 50 different chemotherapy drugs which may be used and this treatment can be effective in treating over 200
different kinds of cancer. The drugs are administered in most cases
either orally or intravenously over multiple sessions. The primary
goal of chemotherapy is to find all traces of the cancer cells and destroy them. In this way it can help to cure the disease and possibly lower the chances of
cancer reappearing at a later time. It can also be used to prolong
life for advanced cases of cancer where there are minimal options for a complete cure.
One of the main drawbacks to this type of treatment concerns the anti-cancer drugs themselves. They are designed to find, attack and ultimately destroy cells which exhibit
rapid growth rates since that is an easily distinguishable different from most normal cells. The problem is that there are still some healthy cells which also show rapid
growth rates. In this way they can be attacked by the anti-cancer
drugs as well such that healthy tissues and cells will be affected as well. This can cause a number of side effects and complications
Nausea and vomiting
There may be
other complications including cardiotoxicity and possible liver damage since the drugs are processed through
both of these organs as well. There is also the risk of kidney
damage and ear damage as a result of withdrawal from these anti-cancer drugs. Doctors administer and monitor these treatments very carefully in order to
achieve the best results with limited complications and side effects. But the risks are certainly there.
therapy tends to be easier on the body than chemotherapy. It
applies a special beam of x-rays to specific areas where cancer is present with the goal of destroying the
cancer cells there. This treatment can be more effective in cases
where the radioactive beam can be focused on the specific areas of cancer growth. Some patients report that radiation therapy can be less painful than
But there are
many types of cancer for which radiation therapy is not particularly effective. If the cancer is more widespread then it usually has limited
benefit. And this treatment option does have side effects as
well. Some of the side effects are caused by the radiation and may
not appear until the treatment has been concluded. It has been
found that the application of the radiation itself may increase the risk of a cancer reoccurrence at a later
therapy which is administered externally can cause damage to the skin in the area where the rays enter the
body. Other side effects typically include fatigue and
sluggishness, loss of appetite, and changes in blood chemistry.
both types of treatments can be used together to increase the overall effectiveness. But each type has its own set of benefits and drawbacks and it consider each
option carefully and make an informed decision based on your doctor’s recommendations.