? asked in HealthDiseases & ConditionsCancer · 1 decade ago

What is the purpose of Chemotherapy?

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  • Panda
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The purpose of chemo varies according to the type of cancer, stage of disease, location of tumor, grade of tumor, age of patient and patients overall health.

    In general terms chemo is given to kill or shrink tumor and any type of metastatic activity. In order to understand this you must understand that cancer can be become a systemic disease at any undetermined point. What that means is that a tumor has the ability to shed hundreds and hundreds of microscopic malignant cells into a persons blood stream or lympathic system. Those cells can than travel all over the body and lodge in a distant location and start growing new cancer colonies. Metastasis will occur with every new tumor that grows unless treatment stops the progression of the disease.

    Chemo is given to try and stop metastasis from spreading all through the body or from the tumor growing any larger. Ideally the chemo will kill the tumor, but depending on the size of it and aggressiveness of the particular tumor the chemo may just stop it long enough for surgery to remove the rest of it. In those cases chemo is being used to shrink tumors to make surgery a better possibility. So chemo is given for three or four months prior to surgery to see if the tumor responds to the chemo . . if it does than a doctor goes ahead with surgery . . and a few weeks after surgery chemo is continued in hopes of cleaning up any left over microscopic disease.

    So the purpose of chemo is systemic . . cancer is a systemic disease . . the chemo follows the same route that the microscopic cancer follows. Chemo gives advanced cancer patients a chance . . without chemo there is no chance at all.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Chemotherapy kills any non-dormant cancer cells. The newer chemo treatments really do not cause much sickness. My mom went through the strongest type out there and rarely had episodes of diarrhea and that was about the worst of it. The clinic kept close tabs on her red and white blood count and were able to give her medicine to keep her from feeling sick and weak. Please be warned, because the doctors won't tell you this, but there can be cells that are dormant that the chemo will not touch, nor radiation and that's why most will tell you that if you make it 5 years without cancer then you have a high survival rate. My mom had a very aggressive type of breast cancer (non-hormonal), and we thought she was cured. Unfortunately, she only made it just over a year before being diagnosed with non-operable liver cancer, and because she already took the strongest type of chemo...it will not help her now. Beware also, there are many side effects that can last for up to 3 years after taking chemo that you are not typical made aware of until after the treatments...my mom has experienced severe changes in vision, nervous tics, memory loss, etc. And, the doctors are saying now, that it is probably from the chemo, and good just go away anytime, or it could take a few years...I really don't think they know. Take care, Stacey

  • 6 years ago

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    What is the purpose of Chemotherapy?

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    it kills rapidly dividing cells , the problem with chemo is that is kills healthy cells and immune cells ,

    everyone that i know who went through chemo the cancer came back , and they died , chemo is so toxic , and the sad news is that doctors scare people into it , saying it is the only way to treat cancer most of the time , and on top of that cancer doctors can buy the chemo drugs at wholesale and jack the price way way up to the patient , this was an nbc story ,

    the bible says THE LOVE of money is the root of all kinds of evil , so true

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  • 1 decade ago

    To kill cancerous cells and thereby reduce their negative effects upon the body. Simplisticly if a tumor shrinks it puts less pressure on other organs and can also make it more viable to remove it via surgery, if it stops growing it is less likely to spread,

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