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We are a breast cancer prevention site. We post information about breast cancer facts, mammograms, chemotherapy, breast cancer clinics and much more. REMEMBER: This is an information only site, not medical advice!

What is Chemotherapy?

Cancer patients may at one point experience a process called chemotherapy. This procedure can be quite scary especially if you are unsure on what it is. With the use of Internet resources, we have gathered basic information about chemotherapy and attempt to explain it in terms that may help you understand. It is highly suggested that you discuss specific questions with your doctor or specialist. The information below is not medical advice. It is information to help explain the procedure better.

MedicineNet defines Chemotherapy as "Treatment with drugs to kill cancer cells". It is a broad description however that is exactly what chemo (a shorter word for it) is. This treatment procedure can be given in different ways. explains in further detail "Chemotherapy can eliminate cancer cells at sites great distances from the original cancer. As a result, chemotherapy is considered a systemic treatment." That in itself can cause severe damage to the entire body because rather than destroying cells directly at the source, it eliminates all cells lowering the immune system. Chemotherapy does not know the difference between the "damaged cells" and the "good cells".

Chemotherapy can be given in different form types; pill form, IV, and catheder depending upon what therapy is chosen for the patient. When the chemotherapy is given, it is in cycles. This is so the patient has the ability to recover from the sudden shock to their immune system. The chemotherapy drug can have side affects. In this situation in most cases, a patient may be required to stay at a hospital or hospice for a temporary period while the treatment is given.

Discussion with Medical Professionals

This is a very important issue and must be discussed with your doctor before any procedure of chemotherapy begins. You are the one who will be receiving this treatment and must have all information, questions, concerns, and options available to you. A doctor's duty is find the best option that will help their patient get well; the patient's responsability is to help the doctor in reaching that best option. Without the two of you working together, it cannot be reached. Be sure that all information is supplied to your specialist and/or doctor involved with your situation. The more they know the better at reaching a sound decision.

Be sure to ask your doctor about the risks involved with chemotherapy and what could possibly be expected during the treatment. Each patient is different so side affects may differ from one patient in comparison to another. You can experience symptoms such as low white blood cell count; low red blood cell count; low platelet count; nausea; vomiting; hair loss and fatigue. (information taken from It is important to ask questions regarding the procedure and how long it is expected to last; approximately how long you will be at the hospital and if you will be allowed family visitors. You can discuss more of this specific information with your doctor.

Take care of yourself

This treatment can be a very difficult time and it is important to stay in good health the best way you know how. It might be very difficult at times however there are a few small things you can do. You can start by eating a well balanced diet and avoiding high fatty foods. They can do more damage than good. The fatty foods take longer to digest than the low carbs do. Did you know that excess carbohydrates become fat and the body can only store so many carbohydrates in the muscles before you gain too much weight? A balanced diet for cancer patients should consist of high protein because it provides the nutrients and energy. This in turn will help your system recooperate from the chemotherapy. In most cases a diet will be motified to a patient's own needs; there is no specific one diet per say that should be followed.

Another way to help you recooperate from chemotherapy is exercise. Your doctor can help or he/she may refer you to someone that can provide more information on how to do certain exercises. Exercise increases your blood circulation and it does increase your oxygen levels within your body. It helps your cardiovascular system and it also makes us feel better even when we aren't feeling so good. If you've ever had a dull day and not felt like doing much then started cleaning or went outside for a walk, you most likely were tired afterwards but also refreshed because your body had been given some activity that it was needed to function correctly. Ask your physician or cancer specialist for further information regarding what exercise you can do after treatment that will help you recover. The most important thing is taking care of yourself first because there's only one unique YOU!

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