Diseases Cancer

How Is Chemo Used To Treat Cancer?


There are many different ways to treat cancer and one of them is with chemotherapy. Cancer chemo first began in 1940s with the first use of nitrogen mustards and folic acid antagonist drugs. Since then the cancer fighting drugs industry has exploded and there are many more treatments that can be used today. Many of the principles of chemotherapy are still apply today. While other treatments are now in place to treat cancer doctors still lean towards chemo in their fight against cancer.  As weird as it is in the 1940-1950 fight against cancer, cancer chemo can be traced to nitrogen mustard as an effective cancer treatment. A German air raid in Bari, Italy led to the exposure of the chemical and it was found during the autopsies that the lymphoid and myeloid suppression had occurred after the exposure.


When given to children with acute lymphoblast leukemia in 1948 these were the first cancer chemo drugs that induced remission, but it was brief. This was during a time when it was thought that leukemia was incurable. A decade later it was shown that the same methorexate treatment could cure choriocarcinoma. This was a germ-cell that originates in trophoblastic cells of the placenta. It was also the first time that a tumor was cured by chemotherapy. There have been many great strides in the development of chemotherapy since then and it has been shown to be very effective against cancer.


Many people do not like the thought of having to fight cancer with chemo because of the side effects that can happen. Over the years great strides have been taken and the side effects have lessened for people. It is nothing to fear and the outcome can be that you become cancer free. Cancer chemo treatments starts by killing the cancer cells that people have. The bad thing is that it can also kill some of the healthy cells because it can not tell the difference between the good cells and the cancer cells. This can lead to the loss of other fast growing cells in your body including hair and blood cells. Some cancer cells grow rapidly and other grow slowly. Your doctor will come up with a plan for how long you will have cancer chemo and this will be based on the type of cancer that you have. The ultimate goal is to have a plan be as effective for you as possible. Even though cancer chemo is good, while under treatment it can also do some bad things to you. One of the things that it can do is cause your white blood cell count to fall, but this is expected.

Tips and Comments

With all of the advances made to cancer chemo, you should not be afraid of the treatment. It can help you live a long and healthy life. It is up to you and your doctor to come up with the right plan for you and your stage of cancer. Caught early enough cancer is easier to treat.

By Sally Vigil, published at 02/16/2012
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