The following are a range of chemotherapy resources:
- what is Chemotherapy (chemo)?
- Chemotherapy by Breastcancer.org
- Chemo Tips and Hints
- my Chemo Diary for insight into what it’s really like to have chemo
- Accessories for tips on hair loss
- my factsheet, How to prepare for chemo day.
1. What is Chemotherapy (chemo)?
Chemotherapy (or chemo) is the treatment of cancer using anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs. The aim is to kill cancer cells while doing the least possible damage to normal cells (http://www.cancernz.org.nz).
There are a variety of chemo regimes based on the type of cancer and each drug has different impacts and side effects.
My most recent drug regime is called CMF plus Herceptin. CMF is named after the initials of the three chemo drugs:
- Fluorouracil known as 5FU and
How is it administered?
Each chemo is administered differently e.g. with tablets of by IV or a combination with different timings e.g. daily, weekly or three weekly.
I will receive infusions of each of these drugs by injection each 21 days for three months. The Herceptin carries on each 21 days for a further nine months (total one year).
The likely/possible side effects are: nausea and vomiting, changes in smell and taste, increased risk of infection, low red blood cell count, low platelets and increased risk of bleeding, diarrhoea, fatigue, sore mouth, skin changes and a few other things.
It will be good to get the first chemo out of the way and see how everything works. I am sure the second chemo will be easier as it will be known, not unknown.
Chemotherapy by Breastcancer.org
This article is from Breastcancer.org. Chemotherapy treatment uses medicine to weaken and destroy cancer cells in the body, including cells at the original cancer site and any cancer cells that may have spread to another part of the body. Chemotherapy, often shortened to just “chemo,” is a systemic therapy, which means it affects the whole body by going through the bloodstream.
There are quite a few chemotherapy medicines. In many cases, a combination of two or more medicines will be used as chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer.
Chemotherapy is used to treat:
- early-stage invasive breast cancer to get rid of any cancer cells that may be left behind after surgery and to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back
- advanced-stage breast cancer to destroy or damage the cancer cells as much as possible
In some cases, chemotherapy is given before surgery to shrink the cancer.
In this section, you’ll learn more about how chemotherapy works, chemotherapy medicines, and what to expect with chemotherapy. You also can learn about chemotherapy side effects and ways to manage them.
- How Chemotherapy Works
- Who Gets Chemotherapy?
- Chemotherapy Medicines
- Choosing a Chemotherapy Combination
- Talking to Your Doctor About Chemotherapy
- Chemotherapy: What to Expect
- Managing Chemotherapy Side Effects
- Dealing with Chemotherapy Fears
- Staying on Track with Chemotherapy
Chemo tips and hints