Chemotherapy is the term used for the treatment of cancer using anticancer drugs (that have the ability to harm cancerous cells). It is one of the basic treatments used in cancer. The anticancer drugs used in chemotherapy may prevent cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the body, may slow down their growth or may directly kill them. Chemotherapy is used with different goals in cancer treatment and mostly in combination with other cancer treatments like surgery and radiotherapy. It may be used with the aim of curing cancer completely, preventing the recurrence of cancer, relieving the symptoms of cancer and for reducing the size of cancer tumors before performing radiotherapy. The drugs are given to the patient in the form of a cycle of specific doses of anticancer drugs separated between gaps. Chemotherapy doesn’t require hospitalization.
Anticancer drugs act on rapidly dividing cells. Hence they tend to interfere with other normal non-cancerous cells of the body. They most likely harm the bone marrow cells, hair follicles, etc. Because of a number of side-effects of chemotherapy, attempts have been made to reduce its impact on normal cells. Some alternatives include use of metal implants to reduce chemotherapy of side-effects and certain pills to replace chemotherapy.