Do oncologists use chemo when they get cancer?

Medical oncologists treat cancer with medications, such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy. Radiation oncologists treat cancer with radiation therapy, which involves the use of high-energy x-rays or other particles to kill cancer cells.

Do oncologists use chemo when they get cancer?

Medical oncologists treat cancer with medications, such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy. Radiation oncologists treat cancer with radiation therapy, which involves the use of high-energy x-rays or other particles to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. This type of cancer treatment works by stopping cancer cells from growing, dividing, and producing more cells.

Some patients say they actually feel better and have more energy soon after starting chemotherapy because cancer symptoms decrease. When it occurs, this improvement allows patients to enjoy some activities they didn't feel like doing. If there is a high chance that chemotherapy will eliminate cancer, that benefit may outweigh potential side effects. Even when cancer can't be cured, chemotherapy can partially shrink tumors and prevent tumor growth and spread over several periods of time.

The side effects you may experience depend on the type of chemotherapy you receive, the combination of medications you are being treated with, whether you have any other chronic illnesses, what medications you are taking for other conditions, and how active or fit you are starting treatment. For example, chemotherapy can temporarily decrease the production of red and white blood cells in the bone marrow, which can lead to anemia, fatigue, and a weakened immune system. Smith and colleagues surveyed a sample of oncologists attending the 1997 annual National Network of Comprehensive Centers (NCCN) conference to see if attitudes toward receiving chemotherapy had changed, in fact. Having more options means that your oncologist may have more options if treatment doesn't work for you or if you experience difficult treatment-related side effects.

These categories of drugs work in different ways to treat cancer, and their side effects are often different from those of chemotherapy. One of us (DB) sent this survey to oncologists in the upper Midwestern United States, specifically those in the states of Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The main objective was to know the views of oncologists on reported statistics on the administration of chemotherapy at the end of life. Sometimes, the goal of chemotherapy treatment is to eliminate all of the cancer and prevent it from returning.

The oncologist may also order more tests, such as imaging tests (such as CT scans, MRIs, or ultrasounds), or may take a blood or urine sample. For example, you could receive a dose of chemotherapy on the first day and then have a recovery time of 3 weeks before repeating treatment. Second, even with modern chemotherapy that is modestly more effective and supportive care that is clearly more effective, about a third of medical oncologists and cancer nurses would still not take chemotherapy. A medical oncologist's job is to care for cancer patients through the use of items such as chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, targeted therapy, or immunotherapy.

Bettie Duford
Bettie Duford

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